Comparison of Web-versus classroom-based basic ultrasonographic and EFAST training in 2 European hospitals

Ann Emerg Med. 2010 Dec;56(6):660-7. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2010.04.019. Epub 2010 Jun 11.


Study objective: Training physicians in new skills through classroom-based teaching has inherent cost and time constraints. We seek to evaluate whether Web-based didactics result in similar knowledge improvement and retention of basic ultrasonographic principles and the Extended Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (EFAST) compared with the traditional method.

Methods: Physicians from 2 German emergency departments were randomized into a classroom group with traditional lectures and a Web group who watched narrated lectures online. All participants completed a pre- and posttest and a second posttest 8 weeks later. Both groups underwent hands-on training after the first posttest. A control group completed the 2 initial tests without didactic intervention.

Results: Fifty-five subjects participated in the study. Both the classroom and Web group showed significant improvement in pre- and posttest 1 scores (75.9% versus 93.9% and 77.8% versus 92.5%; P<.001 for both), with similar knowledge retention after 8 weeks (88.6% and 88.9%; P=.87). No statistically significant difference in mean test scores could be found between the 2 groups at each point: -1.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] -5.2% to 1.4%) for the pretest, 1.4% (95% CI -0.6% to 3.4%) for posttest 1, and -0.3% (95% CI -3.9% to 3.3%) for posttest 2. The control group showed no learning effect without intervention (83.3% versus 82.8%, ; P=.88).

Conclusion: Web-based learning provides the potential to teach physicians with greater flexibility than classroom instruction. Our data suggest that Web-based ultrasonography and EFAST didactics are comparable to traditional classroom lectures and result in similar knowledge retention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Educational Measurement
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Emergency Medicine / instrumentation
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Ultrasonography*
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnostic imaging*