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Title: Digital Problem-Based Learning in Health Professions: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis by the Digital Health Education Collaboration
Contributor(s): Car, Lorainne Tudor (author); Kyaw, Bhone Myint (author); Dunleavy, Gerard (author); Smart, Neil A  (author)orcid ; Semwal, Monika (author); Rotgans, Jerome I (author); Low-Beer, Naomi (author); Campbell, James (author)
Publication Date: 2019-02-28
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.2196/12945
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Abstract: Background: The use of digital education in problem-based learning, or digital problem-based learning (DPBL), is increasingly employed in health professions education. DPBL includes purely digitally delivered as well as blended problem-based learning, wherein digital and face-to-face learning are combined.
Objective: The aim of this review is to evaluate the effectiveness of DPBL in improving health professionals’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and satisfaction.
Methods: We used the gold-standard Cochrane methods to conduct a systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). We included studies that compared the effectiveness of DPBL with traditional learning methods or other forms of digital education in improving health professionals’ knowledge, skills, attitudes, and satisfaction. Two authors independently screened studies, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias. We contacted study authors for additional information, if necessary. We used the random-effects model in the meta-analyses.
Results: Nine RCTs involving 890 preregistration health professionals were included. Digital technology was mostly employed for presentation of problems. In three studies, PBL was delivered fully online. Digital technology modalities spanned online learning, offline learning, virtual reality, and virtual patients. The control groups consisted of traditional PBL and traditional learning. The pooled analysis of seven studies comparing the effect of DPBL and traditional PBL reported little or no difference in postintervention knowledge outcomes (standardized mean difference [SMD] 0.19, 95% CI 0.00-0.38). The pooled analysis of three studies comparing the effect of DPBL to traditional learning on postintervention knowledge outcomes favored DPBL (SMD 0.67, 95% CI 0.14-1.19). For skill development, the pooled analysis of two studies comparing DPBL to traditional PBL favored DPBL (SMD 0.30, 95% CI 0.07-0.54). Findings on attitudes and satisfaction outcomes were mixed. The included studies mostly had an unclear risk of bias.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that DPBL is as effective as traditional PBL and more effective than traditional learning in improving knowledge. DPBL may be more effective than traditional learning or traditional PBL in improving skills. Further studies should evaluate the use of digital technology for the delivery of other PBL components as well as PBL overall.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(2), p. 1-12
Publisher: JMIR Publications, Inc
Place of Publication: Canada
ISSN: 1438-8871
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 119999 Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 390405 Educational technology and computing
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 920205 Health Education and Promotion
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 200203 Health education and promotion
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Science and Technology

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