Comparison of three instructional methods for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of an automatic external defibrillator to high school students

S Reder, P Cummings, L Quan
Resuscitation 2006, 69 (3): 443-53

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate new instructional methods for teaching high school students cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillator (AED) knowledge, actions and skills.

METHODS: We conducted a cluster-controlled trial of 3 instructional interventions among Seattle area high school students, with random allocation based on classrooms, during 2003-04. We examined two new instructional methods: interactive-computer training and interactive-computer training plus instructor-led (hands-on) practice, and compared them with traditional classroom instruction that included video, teacher demonstration and instructor-led (hands-on) practice, and with a control group. We assessed CPR and AED knowledge, performance of key AED and CPR actions, and essential CPR ventilation and compressions skills 2 days and 2 months after training. All outcomes were transformed to a scale of 0-100%.

RESULTS: For all outcome measures mean scores were higher in the instructional groups than in the control group. Two days after training all instructional groups had mean CPR and AED knowledge scores above 75%, with use of the computer program scores were above 80%. Mean scores for key AED actions were above 80% for all groups with training, with hands-on practice enhancing students' positive outcomes for AED pad placement. Students who received hands-on practice more successfully performed CPR actions than those in the computer program only group. In the 2 hands-on practice groups the scores for 3 of the outcomes ranged from 57 to 74%; they were 32 to 54% in the computer only group. For the outcome of continuing CPR until the AED was available scores were high, 89 to 100% in all 3 training groups. Mean CPR skill scores were low in all groups. The highest mean score for successful ventilations was 15% and for compressions, 29%. The pattern of results was similar after 2 months.

CONCLUSIONS: We found evidence that interactive computer based self instruction alone was sufficient to teach CPR and AED knowledge and AED actions to high school students. All forms of instruction were highly effective in teaching AED use. In contrast to AED skills, CPR remains a set of difficult psychomotor skills that is challenging to teach to high school students as well as other members of the lay public.

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