Background Computer-assisted learning has several privileges in contrast to the conventional teaching methods. An inventive, online learning atmosphere can have a significant impact on the student's ability for learning and problem solving. Advantages of internet based learning include universal availability, easiness to update its content, and the option of adding hyperlinks which facilitate cross-referencing to other resources.
Objectives To assess the outcome of a series of interactive cyber-based self-study program for post-graduate rheumatology trainees involving problem solving and decision analysis.
Methods An initial needs assessment online survey was carried out to assess the learning requirements and attitude towards e-learning and the topics of interest. From these results a series of 10 interactive case studies and problem solving were designed for simulated teaching from a web-server. The topics included: PASI scoring, PROMs in inflammatory arthritis and spondyloarthritis, assessment of co-morbidities, treat to target of arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, SLE and Scleroderma as well as management and assessment of falls and fracture risk in osteoporosis patients. Before and after completing the module every participant was asked to complete a copy of the Satisfaction and Self-Confidence in Learning questionnaire to assess the outcome the teaching module.
Results At baseline, a survey of 49 postgraduate students revealed that 41/49 (84%) reported that e-learning teaching modules were a valuable enhancement to existing teaching and they could see a positive use for e-learning. This percentage increased in the post module survey up to 48/49 (98%). Results of the Satisfaction with Current Learning questionnaire revealed significant improvement (p<0.01) of the trainees perceived confidence and competence levels for handling the patients in the clinic. There was significant improvement in the trainees perception of usefulness of skills and knowledge acquired and the ability to transfer this into clinical enviroment. Several web-based technologies were voted to be important for the teaching modules. These included digital videos (88%), animation and graphics (84%), interactivity (97%), pictures (100%) and links to articles and research (92%).
Conclusions The interactive case studies and problem solving e-learning program was well received by a wide range of trainees with different abilities and backgrounds. Reflection on the module revealed that the program was realistic and clearly presented in an intuitive manner. Simulated teaching approach may provide a way to increase the exposure of postgraduate trainees to interactive diagnostic and treatment procedures, that mimic real-world scenarios, but with fewer resource implications.
Acknowledgements To Omar El Miedany for contribution in preparing the web-based technologies and electronic formatting of the module
Disclosure of Interest None declared