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Why Medical Students Choose to Use or Not to Use a Web-Based Electrocardiogram Learning Resource: Mixed Methods Study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
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2019 (English)In: JMIR Medical Education, ISSN 2369-3762, Vol. 5, no 2, article id e12791Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: Electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation is a core competence and can make a significant difference to patient outcomes. However, ECG interpretation is a complex skill to learn, and research has showed that students often lack enough competence. Web-based learning has been shown to be effective. However, little is known regarding why and how students use Web-based learning when offered in a blended learning situation.

Objective: The aim of this paper was to study students’ use of Web-based ECG learning resources which has not previously been studied in relation to study strategies.

Methods: A qualitative explanatory design using mixed methods was adopted to explore how medical students reason around their choice to use or not to use a Web-based ECG learning resource. Overall, 15 of 33 undergraduate medical students attending a course in clinical medicine were interviewed. Data on usage of the resource were obtained via the learning management system for all students. At the final examination, all the students answered a questionnaire on study strategies and questions about internet access and estimated their own skills in ECG interpretation. Furthermore, study strategies and use patterns were correlated with results from an ECG Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and a written course examination.

Results: In total, 2 themes were central in the students’ reasoning about usage of Web-based ECG: assessment of learning needs and planning according to learning goals. Reasons for using the Web resource were to train in skills, regarding it as a valuable complement to books and lectures. The main reasons for not using the resource were believing they already had good enough skills and a lack of awareness of its availability. Usage data showed that 21 students (63%) used the Web resource. Of these, 11 were minimal users and 10 were major users based on usage activity. Large variations were found in the time spent in different functional parts of the resource. No differences were found between users and nonusers regarding the OSCE score, final examination score, self-estimate of knowledge, or favoring self-regulated learning.

Conclusions: To use or not to use a Web-based ECG learning resource is largely based on self-regulated learning aspects. Decisions to use such a resource are based on multifactorial aspects such as experiences during clinical rotations, former study experiences, and perceived learning needs. The students’ own judgment of whether there was a need for a Web-based resource to achieve the learning goals and to pass the examination was crucial for their decisions to use it or not. An increased understanding of students’ regulation of learning and awareness of variations in their ECG learning needs can contribute to the improvement of course design for blended learning of ECG contexts for medical students.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 5, no 2, article id e12791
Keywords [en]
learning, medical, teaching, electrocardiogram
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-177188DOI: 10.2196/12791OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-177188DiVA, id: diva2:1379908
Available from: 2019-12-17 Created: 2019-12-17 Last updated: 2020-01-07Bibliographically approved

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