The effectiveness of web-based and face-to-face continuing education methods on nurses' knowledge about AIDS: a comparative study

BMC Med Educ. 2009 Jul 10;9:41. doi: 10.1186/1472-6920-9-41.


Background: Information about web-based education outcomes in comparison with a face-to-face format can help researchers and tutors prepare and deliver future web-based or face-to-face courses more efficiently. The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of web-based and face-to-face continuing education methods in improving nurses' knowledge about AIDS.

Methods: A quasi-experimental method was used with a pre-test and post-test design. In this study 140 nurses with BSc degrees were chosen through a random sampling method and divided into a web-based and a face-to-face group by random allocation. For the former group the intervention consisted of a web-based course on AIDS; the latter received a 3-hour lecture course on the same subject. At the beginning and end of the course in both groups, the nurses' knowledge was measured by a questionnaire. Pre- and post-test scores were compared within and between the groups.

Results: The results show that there was no significant difference between the groups in either the pre-test (t(138) = -1.7, p = 0.096) nor the post-test (t(138) = -1.4, p = 0.163) scores in the knowledge test. However, there was a significant difference in the pre-test and post-test scores within each group (web-based, t(69) = 26, p < .001; face-to-face, t(69) = 24.3, p < .001).

Conclusion: The web-based method seems to be as effective as the face-to-face method in the continuing education of nurses. Therefore, the web-based method is recommended, as complementary to the face-to-face method, for designing and delivering some topics of continuing education programs for nurses.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / nursing*
  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Education, Distance*
  • Education, Nursing, Continuing / methods*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Iran
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Surveys and Questionnaires