Blending problem-based learning with Web technology positively impacts student learning outcomes in acid-base physiology

Adv Physiol Educ. 2005 Mar;29(1):35-9. doi: 10.1152/advan.00026.2004.


World Wide Web (Web)-based learning (WBL), problem-based learning (PBL), and collaborative learning are at present the most powerful educational options in higher education. A blended (hybrid) course combines traditional face-to-face and WBL approaches in an educational environment that is nonspecific as to time and place. To provide educational services for an undergraduate second-year elective course in acid-base physiology, a rich, student-centered educational Web-environment designed to support PBL was created by using Web Course Tools courseware. The course is designed to require students to work in small collaborative groups using problem solving activities to develop topic understanding. The aim of the study was to identify the impact of the blended WBL-PBL-collaborative learning environment on student learning outcomes. Student test scores and satisfaction survey results from a blended WBL-PBL-based test group (n = 37) were compared with a control group whose instructional opportunities were from a traditional in-class PBL model (n = 84). WBL students scored significantly (t = 3.3952; P = 0.0009) better on the final acid-base physiology examination and expressed a positive attitude to the new learning environment in the satisfaction survey. Expressed in terms of a difference effect, the mean of the treated group (WBL) is at the 76th percentile of the untreated (face-to-face) group, which stands for a "medium" effect size. Thus student progress in the blended WBL-PBL collaborative environment was positively affected by the use of technology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium*
  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Learning
  • Physiology / education*
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Students, Medical / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Technology*