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Factors Affecting Learner Satisfaction with an Internet-Based Curriculum

Deepan Dalal, MBBS, MPH, Frederick L. Brancati, MD, Stephen D. Sisson, MD
Volume: 105 Issue: 8 August, 2012

Abstract:

Objective: Online curricula are used increasingly for educating physicians, and evaluating educational outcomes can help improve their effectiveness. It is unknown how specific educational outcomes associate with each other among learners using online curricula. We set out to study how two educational outcomes, learner satisfaction and knowledge, and the learner’s year of training and training hospital, were associated with one another among learners accessing a widely used online curriculum.


Methods: Using data from the 2006–2007 academic year, learner satisfaction was compared with pretest knowledge, posttest knowledge, changes in knowledge, module topic, year of training, and training hospital among 3229 residents at 73 internal medicine residency training programs. A multivariable model was used to calculate the odds ratio of learner satisfaction relative to changes in knowledge.


Results: Module topic, year of training, and hospital type were associated with learner satisfaction. Second-year residents were more satisfied with training modules (mean rating 4.01) than first- and third-year residents (mean ratings 3.97 and 3.95, respectively; P < 0.05). Learner satisfaction was greater among community hospital residents than university hospital residents (mean rating 4.0 vs 3.92; P < 0.05). Learner satisfaction was greater in residents with high pretest and high posttest knowledge (P < 0.05). In multivariate analyses, greater gains in knowledge were associated with greater learner satisfaction (P < 0.05).


Conclusions: Greater learner satisfaction is associated with greater baseline knowledge, greater knowledge after completing a curriculum, and greater improvement in knowledge while enrolled in a curriculum.

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