Impact of self-assessment questions and learning styles in web-based learning: A randomized, controlled, crossover trial

David Allan Cook, Warren G. Thompson, Kris G. Thomas, Matthew R. Thomas, V. Shane Pankratz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

PURPOSE: To determine the effect of self-assessment questions on learners' knowledge and format preference in a Web-based course, and investigate associations between learning styles and outcomes. METHOD: The authors conducted a randomized, controlled, crossover trial in the continuity clinics of the Mayo-Rochester internal medicine residency program during the 2003-04 academic year. Case-based self-assessment questions were added to Web-based modules covering topics in ambulatory internal medicine. Participants completed two modules with questions and two modules without questions, with sequence randomly assigned. Outcomes included knowledge assessed after each module, format preference, and learning style assessed using the Index of Learning Styles. RESULTS: A total of 121 of 146 residents (83%) consented. Residents had higher test scores when using the question format (mean ± standard error, 78.9% ± 1.0) than when using the standard format (76.2% ± 1.0, p = .006). Residents preferring the question format scored higher (79.7% ± 1.1) than those preferring standard (69.5% ± 2.3, p < .001). Learning styles did not affect scores except that visual-verbal "intermediate" learners (80.6% ± 1.4) and visual learners (77.5% ± 1.3) did better than verbal learners (70.9% ± 3.0, p = .003 and p = .033, respectively). Sixty-five of 78 residents (83.3%, 95% CI 73.2-90.8%) preferred the question format. Learning styles were not associated with preference (p > .384). Although the question format took longer than the standard format (60.4 ± 3.6 versus 44.3 ± 3.3 minutes, p < .001), 55 of 77 residents (71.4%, 60.0-81.2%) reported that it was more efficient. CONCLUSIONS: Instructional methods that actively engage learners improve learning outcomes. These findings hold implications for both Web-based learning and "traditional" educational activities. Future research, in both Web-based learning and other teaching modalities, should focus on further defining the effectiveness of selected instructional methods in specific learning contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume81
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006

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self-assessment
Cross-Over Studies
Randomized Controlled Trials
Learning
learning
resident
Internal Medicine
Association Learning
medicine
Internship and Residency
educational activities
Self-Assessment
Teaching
continuity
Education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Education

Cite this

Impact of self-assessment questions and learning styles in web-based learning : A randomized, controlled, crossover trial. / Cook, David Allan; Thompson, Warren G.; Thomas, Kris G.; Thomas, Matthew R.; Pankratz, V. Shane.

In: Academic Medicine, Vol. 81, No. 3, 03.2006, p. 231-238.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Cook, David Allan ; Thompson, Warren G. ; Thomas, Kris G. ; Thomas, Matthew R. ; Pankratz, V. Shane. / Impact of self-assessment questions and learning styles in web-based learning : A randomized, controlled, crossover trial. In: Academic Medicine. 2006 ; Vol. 81, No. 3. pp. 231-238.
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N2 - PURPOSE: To determine the effect of self-assessment questions on learners' knowledge and format preference in a Web-based course, and investigate associations between learning styles and outcomes. METHOD: The authors conducted a randomized, controlled, crossover trial in the continuity clinics of the Mayo-Rochester internal medicine residency program during the 2003-04 academic year. Case-based self-assessment questions were added to Web-based modules covering topics in ambulatory internal medicine. Participants completed two modules with questions and two modules without questions, with sequence randomly assigned. Outcomes included knowledge assessed after each module, format preference, and learning style assessed using the Index of Learning Styles. RESULTS: A total of 121 of 146 residents (83%) consented. Residents had higher test scores when using the question format (mean ± standard error, 78.9% ± 1.0) than when using the standard format (76.2% ± 1.0, p = .006). Residents preferring the question format scored higher (79.7% ± 1.1) than those preferring standard (69.5% ± 2.3, p < .001). Learning styles did not affect scores except that visual-verbal "intermediate" learners (80.6% ± 1.4) and visual learners (77.5% ± 1.3) did better than verbal learners (70.9% ± 3.0, p = .003 and p = .033, respectively). Sixty-five of 78 residents (83.3%, 95% CI 73.2-90.8%) preferred the question format. Learning styles were not associated with preference (p > .384). Although the question format took longer than the standard format (60.4 ± 3.6 versus 44.3 ± 3.3 minutes, p < .001), 55 of 77 residents (71.4%, 60.0-81.2%) reported that it was more efficient. CONCLUSIONS: Instructional methods that actively engage learners improve learning outcomes. These findings hold implications for both Web-based learning and "traditional" educational activities. Future research, in both Web-based learning and other teaching modalities, should focus on further defining the effectiveness of selected instructional methods in specific learning contexts.

AB - PURPOSE: To determine the effect of self-assessment questions on learners' knowledge and format preference in a Web-based course, and investigate associations between learning styles and outcomes. METHOD: The authors conducted a randomized, controlled, crossover trial in the continuity clinics of the Mayo-Rochester internal medicine residency program during the 2003-04 academic year. Case-based self-assessment questions were added to Web-based modules covering topics in ambulatory internal medicine. Participants completed two modules with questions and two modules without questions, with sequence randomly assigned. Outcomes included knowledge assessed after each module, format preference, and learning style assessed using the Index of Learning Styles. RESULTS: A total of 121 of 146 residents (83%) consented. Residents had higher test scores when using the question format (mean ± standard error, 78.9% ± 1.0) than when using the standard format (76.2% ± 1.0, p = .006). Residents preferring the question format scored higher (79.7% ± 1.1) than those preferring standard (69.5% ± 2.3, p < .001). Learning styles did not affect scores except that visual-verbal "intermediate" learners (80.6% ± 1.4) and visual learners (77.5% ± 1.3) did better than verbal learners (70.9% ± 3.0, p = .003 and p = .033, respectively). Sixty-five of 78 residents (83.3%, 95% CI 73.2-90.8%) preferred the question format. Learning styles were not associated with preference (p > .384). Although the question format took longer than the standard format (60.4 ± 3.6 versus 44.3 ± 3.3 minutes, p < .001), 55 of 77 residents (71.4%, 60.0-81.2%) reported that it was more efficient. CONCLUSIONS: Instructional methods that actively engage learners improve learning outcomes. These findings hold implications for both Web-based learning and "traditional" educational activities. Future research, in both Web-based learning and other teaching modalities, should focus on further defining the effectiveness of selected instructional methods in specific learning contexts.

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