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Evaluation of eLearning for the teaching of undergraduate ophthalmology at medical school: a randomised controlled crossover study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalEye (London, England)
Early online date25 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2018


King's Authors


AIM: To compare ophthalmology teaching delivered by eLearning with traditional lectures, in terms of undergraduate performance and satisfaction.

METHODS: Randomised controlled crossover study at King's College London Medical School with 245 third year medical students. The ophthalmology syllabus was divided into ten topics. Five topics were randomised to be taught by traditional lectures and five by electronic learning (eLearning). For the second rotation of students the topics were crossed over, so that those topics taught by traditional lectures were taught by eLearning and vice versa. At the end of each rotation the students sat an optional online mock examination containing 100 questions (ten on each topic). Students' examination performance was compared between the two teaching methods. Student satisfaction was assessed using an online satisfaction survey. Outcome measures were the mean percentage of correct answers across all ten topics, student satisfaction and self-assessed knowledge.

RESULTS: The mean examination score for questions taught by eLearning was 58% (95% CI, 55.7-59.6), versus 55% (95% CI 53.1-56.8) for traditional lectures (P = 0.047). Across all topics students were more satisfied with eLearning than traditional lectures, with 87% (95% CI 84.5-88.4) rating eLearning as 'excellent' or 'good' versus 65% (95% CI 62.0-67.4) for lectures (p < 0.0001). Overall 180 (75.6%) preferred eLearning compared to traditional lectures, with 166 (69.7%) rating eLearning 'much better' or 'better,' 61 (25.6%) 'neutral' and 11 (4.6%) 'worse' or 'much worse.'

CONCLUSIONS: Student satisfaction and examination performance are both enhanced by ophthalmology eLearning. Similar eLearning modules may be suitable for other specialties and postgraduate learning.

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