Background: Over the years, various distance learning technologies and methods have been applied to the continuing medical education needs of rural and remote physicians. They have included audio teleconferencing, slow scan imaging, correspondence study, and compressed videoconferencing. The recent emergence and growth of Internet, World Wide Web (Web), and compact disk read-only-memory (CD-ROM) technologies have introduced new opportunities for providing continuing education to the rural medical practitioner. This evaluation study assessed the instructional effectiveness of a hybrid computer-mediated courseware delivery system on dermatologic office procedures.
Methods: A hybrid delivery system merges Web documents, multimedia, computer-mediated communications, and CD-ROMs to enable self-paced instruction and collaborative learning. Using a modified pretest to post-test control group study design, several evaluative criteria (participant reaction, learning achievement, self-reported performance change, and instructional transactions) were assessed by various qualitative and quantitative data collection methods.
Results: This evaluation revealed that a hybrid computer-mediated courseware system was an effective means for increasing knowledge (p < .05) and improving self-reported competency (p < .05) in dermatologic office procedures, and that participants were very satisfied with the self-paced instruction and use of asynchronous computer conferencing for collaborative information sharing among colleagues.