Rationale and objectives: The goal of this prospective, interinstitutional study was to compare the long-term instructional effectiveness of a pediatric multimedia textbook (MMTB) to that of a standard lecture and a printed textbook.
Materials and methods: A randomized cohort of 89 3rd-year medical students from two institutions were initially evaluated from June 1992 to June 1993 and reevaluated in May 1994. Students were randomly assigned to one of four instructional groups: computer-aided instruction by means of MMTBs (n = 21), traditional lecture (n = 23), printed textbook (n = 19), and a control group (n = 26). After instruction, all groups were tested by means of a multiple choice test at the end of their pediatric clerkship; they were given this same test 11-22 months later.
Results: The long-term instructional effectiveness of the MMTB, printed textbook, and lecture were the same as that in the control group, as determined by analysis of variance of mean test scores.
Conclusion: The educational advantage of MMTBs observed immediately after instruction was not detected 1 year later. Because attrition reduced statistical power, further research is necessary to determine how educational fading affects these instructional formats.