Background: Web-based learning is becoming an increasingly important instructional tool in nursing education. Multimedia advancements offer the potential for creating authentic nursing activities for developing nursing competency in clinical practice.
Objective: This study aims to describe the design, development, and evaluation of an interactive multimedia Web-based simulation for developing nurses' competencies in acute nursing care.
Methods: Authentic nursing activities were developed in a Web-based simulation using a variety of instructional strategies including animation video, multimedia instructional material, virtual patients, and online quizzes. A randomized controlled study was conducted on 67 registered nurses who were recruited from the general ward units of an acute care tertiary hospital. Following a baseline evaluation of all participants' clinical performance in a simulated clinical setting, the experimental group received 3 hours of Web-based simulation and completed a survey to evaluate their perceptions of the program. All participants were re-tested for their clinical performances using a validated tool.
Results: The clinical performance posttest scores of the experimental group improved significantly (P<.001) from the pretest scores after the Web-based simulation. In addition, compared to the control group, the experimental group had significantly higher clinical performance posttest scores (P<.001) after controlling the pretest scores. The participants from the experimental group were satisfied with their learning experience and gave positive ratings for the quality of the Web-based simulation. Themes emerging from the comments about the most valuable aspects of the Web-based simulation include relevance to practice, instructional strategies, and fostering problem solving.
Conclusions: Engaging in authentic nursing activities using interactive multimedia Web-based simulation can enhance nurses' competencies in acute care. Web-based simulations provide a promising educational tool in institutions where large groups of nurses need to be trained in acute nursing care and accessibility to repetitive training is essential for achieving long-term retention of clinical competency.
Keywords: Web-based simulation; acute nursing care; authentic learning; clinical competency; deterioration; instructional strategies; multimedia; simulation.