Deliberate practice and mastery learning in resuscitation education: A scoping review

Resusc Plus. 2021 May 15;6:100137. doi: 10.1016/j.resplu.2021.100137. eCollection 2021 Jun.


Study aim: To summarize the current state of knowledge of deliberate practice and mastery learning (DP and/or ML) as teaching methods for resuscitation education.

Methods: A scoping review of PubMed, Scopus, and Embase was conducted through March 1, 2021. Studies examining the effect of the incorporation of either deliberate practice and/or mastery learning during resuscitation education were eligible for inclusion. Included studies were dichotomized into studies comparing deliberate practice and/or mastery learning to other training methods (randomized controlled trials) and studies examining before and after impact of deliberate practice and/or mastery learning alone (observational studies). Studies and findings were tabulated and summarized using the scoping review methodology published by Arksey and O'Malley.

Results: 63 published studies were screened; sixteen studies met all inclusion criteria (4 randomized controlled trials and 12 observational studies). One randomized controlled trial and eleven observational studies demonstrated improvement in skill and/or knowledge following educational interventions using deliberate practice and/or mastery learning. Significant variability between studies with regard to research designs, learner groups, comparators, and outcomes of interest made quantitative summarization of findings difficult.

Conclusions: The incorporation of deliberate practice and/or mastery learning in resuscitation education may be associated with improved educational outcomes and less skill decay than other educational methods. Current literature on DP and ML suffers from a lack of consistency in research methodology, subjects, and outcomes. Future research should employ uniform definitions for deliberate practice and mastery learning, follow research design that isolates its effect, and examine generalizable and translatable outcomes.

Keywords: ACLS, advanced cardiac life support; AED, automated external defibrillator; ALS, advanced life support; BLS, basic life support; CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; DP, deliberate practice; Deliberate practice, mastery learning; Life support education; ML, mastery learning; NRP, neonatal resuscitation program; PALS, pediatric advanced life support; RCT, randomized controlled trial.

Publication types

  • Review