Evaluation of different delivery modes of an interactive e-learning programme for teaching cultural diversity

Kamila Hawthorne, Hayley Prout, Paul Kinnersley, Helen Houston
Patient Education and Counseling 2009, 74 (1): 5-11

OBJECTIVE: UK medical schools find it challenging to provide standardised teaching to expanding year intakes. In addition, developing and implementing diversity training can cause difficulties. This paper describes the evaluation of an interactive e-learning programme to raise awareness and understanding of communication difficulties in diversity consultations.

METHODS: The programme was part of an undergraduate portfolio-based community module. Three hundred and two students were assigned to one of three delivery methods--a large group setting, small groups with a facilitator, and as part of distance learning while on community placement. The evaluation included analysis of their coursework marks, a self-completed evaluation questionnaire, and small group discussions.

RESULTS: Two hundred and twenty-three students took part in the evaluation. They were able to apply the concepts they learnt to clinical examples from their own experiences. Type of delivery did not affect coursework marks, but students tended to prefer the e-learning as part of a distance learning package. They offered helpful suggestions to improve its complexity and range.

CONCLUSION: The acceptability and utility of this e-learning module both in face to face teaching and remote placement has been demonstrated, and evaluation by the students has provided valuable information for its further development.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: All medical schools should include some diversity training, and further research should concentrate on the effects of this type of learning on longer term outcomes such as attitude and performance tests. Such tools could reduce demands on staff time in facilitation of small groupwork, and their cost effectiveness could be increased by making them available to other medical schools.

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