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2.  Effectiveness of an e-learning course in evidence-based medicine for foundation (internship) training 
Summary
Aim
To evaluate the educational effectiveness of a clinically integrated e-learning course for teaching basic evidence-based medicine (EBM) among postgraduate medical trainees compared to a traditional lecture-based course of equivalent content.
Methods
We conducted a cluster randomized controlled trial to compare a clinically integrated e-learning EBM course (intervention) to a lecture-based course (control) among postgraduate trainees at foundation or internship level in seven teaching hospitals in the UK West Midlands region. Knowledge gain among participants was measured with a validated instrument using multiple choice questions. Change in knowledge was compared between groups taking into account the cluster design and adjusted for covariates at baseline using generalized estimating equations (GEE) model.
Results
There were seven clusters involving teaching of 237 trainees (122 in the intervention and 115 in the control group). The total number of postgraduate trainees who completed the course was 88 in the intervention group and 72 in the control group. After adjusting for baseline knowledge, there was no difference in the amount of improvement in knowledge of EBM between the two groups. The adjusted post course difference between the intervention group and the control group was only 0.1 scoring points (95% CI −1.2–1.4).
Conclusion
An e-learning course in EBM was as effective in improving knowledge as a standard lecture-based course. The benefits of an e-learning approach need to be considered when planning EBM curricula as it allows standardization of teaching materials and is a potential cost-effective alternative to standard lecture-based teaching.
doi:10.1258/jrsm.2010.100036
PMCID: PMC2895523  PMID: 20522698
3.  The effectiveness of a clinically integrated e-learning course in evidence-based medicine: A cluster randomised controlled trial 
Background
To evaluate the educational effects of a clinically integrated e-learning course for teaching basic evidence-based medicine (EBM) among postgraduates compared to a traditional lecture-based course of equivalent content.
Methods
We conducted a cluster randomised controlled trial in the Netherlands and the UK involving postgraduate trainees in six obstetrics and gynaecology departments. Outcomes (knowledge gain and change in attitude towards EBM) were compared between the clinically integrated e-learning course (intervention) and the traditional lecture based course (control). We measured change from pre- to post-intervention scores using a validated questionnaire assessing knowledge (primary outcome) and attitudes (secondary outcome).
Results
There were six clusters involving teaching of 61 postgraduate trainees (28 in the intervention and 33 in the control group). The intervention group achieved slightly higher scores for knowledge gain compared to the control, but these results were not statistically significant (difference in knowledge gain: 3.5 points, 95% CI -2.7 to 9.8, p = 0.27). The attitudinal changes were similar for both groups.
Conclusion
A clinically integrated e-learning course was at least as effective as a traditional lecture based course and was well accepted. Being less costly than traditional teaching and allowing for more independent learning through materials that can be easily updated, there is a place for incorporating e-learning into postgraduate EBM curricula that offer on-the-job training for just-in-time learning.
Trial registration
Trial registration number: ACTRN12609000022268.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-9-21
PMCID: PMC2688004  PMID: 19435520
4.  Knowledge and beliefs concerning evidence-based practice amongst complementary and alternative medicine health care practitioners and allied health care professionals: A questionnaire survey 
Background
Evidence-based practice (EBP) has become an important competency in many allied and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) health care practitioners' professional standards of proficiency.
Methods
To compliment an EBP course for allied health care professionals and CAM practitioners, we undertook a questionnaire survey to assess learning needs. We developed a questionnaire to measure allied health care professionals and CAM practitioners' basic knowledge, skills and beliefs concerning the main principles of EBP. The questionnaires were administered to all attendees of one-day EBP workshops.
Results
During 2004–5 we surveyed 193 allied health care professionals and CAM practitioners who attended one-day EBP courses prior to commencement of teaching. Of the respondents 121 (62.7%) were allied health care professionals and 65 (33.7%) practitioners stated that they work in the CAM field Our survey found that the majority of the respondents had not previously attended a literature appraisal skills workshop (87.3%) or received formal training in research methods (69.9%), epidemiology (91.2%) or statistics (80.8%). Furthermore, 67.1% of practitioners specified that they felt that they had not had adequate training in EBM and they identified that they needed more training and education in the principles of EBM (86.7%). Differences in knowledge and beliefs concerning EBP amongst allied and CAM practitioners were found and length of time since qualification was also found to be an important factor in practitioner's beliefs. More CAM practitioners compared to allied health professionals accessed educational literature via the Internet (95.3% v 68.1%, p = 0.008). Whilst, practitioners with more than 11 years experience felt that original research papers were far more confusing (p = 0.02) than their less experienced colleagues.
Conclusion
The results demonstrate that practitioner's learning needs do vary according to the type of profession, time since graduation and prior research experience. Our survey findings are exploratory and will benefit from further replication, however, we do believe that they warrant consideration by allied health care and CAM tutors and trainers when planning EBP teaching curricula as it is important to tailor teaching to meet the needs of specific subgroups of trainees to ensure that specific learning needs are met.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-8-45
PMCID: PMC2533291  PMID: 18651937
5.  Harmonising Evidence-based medicine teaching: a study of the outcomes of e-learning in five European countries 
Background
We developed and evaluated the outcomes of an e-learning course for evidence based medicine (EBM) training in postgraduate medical education in different languages and settings across five European countries.
Methods
We measured changes in knowledge and attitudes with well-developed assessment tools before and after administration of the course. The course consisted of five e-learning modules covering acquisition (formulating a question and search of the literature), appraisal, application and implementation of findings from systematic reviews of therapeutic interventions, each with interactive audio-visual learning materials of 15 to 20 minutes duration. The modules were prepared in English, Spanish, German and Hungarian. The course was delivered to 101 students from different specialties in Germany (psychiatrists), Hungary (mixture of specialties), Spain (general medical practitioners), Switzerland (obstetricians-gynaecologists) and the UK (obstetricians-gynaecologists). We analysed changes in scores across modules and countries.
Results
On average across all countries, knowledge scores significantly improved from pre- to post-course for all five modules (p < 0.001). The improvements in scores were on average 1.87 points (14% of total score) for module 1, 1.81 points (26% of total score) for module 2, 1.9 points (11% of total score) for module 3, 1.9 points (12% of total score) for module 4 and 1.14 points (14% of total score) for module 5. In the country specific analysis, knowledge gain was not significant for module 4 in Spain, Switzerland and the UK, for module 3 in Spain and Switzerland and for module 2 in Spain. Compared to pre-course assessment, after completing the course participants felt more confident that they can assess research evidence and that the healthcare system in their country should have its own programme of research about clinical effectiveness.
Conclusion
E-learning in EBM can be harmonised for effective teaching and learning in different languages, educational settings and clinical specialties, paving the way for development of an international e-EBM course.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-8-27
PMCID: PMC2386125  PMID: 18442424
6.  A clinically integrated curriculum in Evidence-based Medicine for just-in-time learning through on-the-job training: The EU-EBM project 
Background
Over the last years key stake holders in the healthcare sector have increasingly recognised evidence based medicine (EBM) as a means to improving the quality of healthcare. However, there is considerable uncertainty about the best way to disseminate basic knowledge of EBM. As a result, huge variation in EBM educational provision, setting, duration, intensity, content, and teaching methodology exists across Europe and worldwide. Most courses for health care professionals are delivered outside the work context ('stand alone') and lack adaptation to the specific needs for EBM at the learners' workplace. Courses with modern 'adaptive' EBM teaching that employ principles of effective continuing education might fill that gap. We aimed to develop a course for post-graduate education which is clinically integrated and allows maximum flexibility for teachers and learners.
Methods
A group of experienced EBM teachers, clinical epidemiologists, clinicians and educationalists from institutions from eight European countries participated. We used an established methodology of curriculum development to design a clinically integrated EBM course with substantial components of e-learning. An independent European steering committee provided input into the process.
Results
We defined explicit learning objectives about knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour for the five steps of EBM. A handbook guides facilitator and learner through five modules with clinical and e-learning components. Focussed activities and targeted assignments round off the learning process, after which each module is formally assessed.
Conclusion
The course is learner-centred, problem-based, integrated with activities in the workplace and flexible. When successfully implemented, the course is designed to provide just-in-time learning through on-the-job-training, with the potential for teaching and learning to directly impact on practice.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-7-46
PMCID: PMC2228282  PMID: 18042271
7.  Learning needs analysis to guide teaching evidence-based medicine: knowledge and beliefs amongst trainees from various specialities 
Background
We undertook a needs assessment exercise using questionnaire survey of junior doctors' knowledge and beliefs concerning evidence-based medicine (EBM) and critical literature appraisal, as this is a core competence in postgraduate medical education.
Methods
We surveyed 317 junior doctors in various specialities in the UK West Midlands Deanery. Using validated questionnaires we compared the needs of different trainee groups. Results overall were internally consistent (Cronbach's alpha 0.929).
Results
Respondents' generally felt that they had poor training in EBM (Mean score 2.2, possible range 1 – 6) and that they needed more education (Mean score 5.3, possible range 1–6). Male trainees felt more confident at evaluating statistical tests than females (p = 0.002). Female trainees considered patient choice above the evidence more often than males (p = 0.038). Trainees from surgical speciality felt more confident at assessing research evidence (p = 0.009) whereas those from medical speciality felt more confident at evaluating statistical tests (p = 0.038) than other specialities. However, non-surgical specialities tended to believe that EBM had little impact on practice (p = 0.029). Respondents who had been qualified for 11 years or over felt overall more confident in their knowledge relating to EBM than those who had been qualified less than 10 years. In particular, they felt more confident at being able to assess study designs (p = < 0.001) and the general worth of research papers (p = < 0.001). Trainees with prior research experience were less likely to find original work confusing (p = 0.003) and felt more confident that they can assess research evidence (p = < 0.001) compared to those without previous research experience. Trainees without previous research experience felt that clinical judgement was more important than evidence (p = < 0.001).
Conclusion
There is a perceived deficit in postgraduate doctors' EBM knowledge and critical appraisal skills. Learning needs vary according to gender, place of basic medical qualification, time since graduation, prior research experience and speciality. EBM training curricular development should take into account the findings of our needs assessment study.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-7-11
PMCID: PMC1885246  PMID: 17493274

Results 1-7 (7)