Pediatric trainees' engagement in the online nutrition curriculum: preliminary results

Kadriye O Lewis, Graeme R Frank, Rollin Nagel, Teri L Turner, Cynthia L Ferrell, Shilpa G Sangvai, Rajesh Donthi, John D Mahan
BMC Medical Education 2014 September 16, 14: 190

BACKGROUND: The Pediatric Nutrition Series (PNS) consists of ten online, interactive modules and supplementary educational materials that have utilized web-based multimedia technologies to offer nutrition education for pediatric trainees and practicing physicians. The purpose of the study was to evaluate pediatric trainees' engagement, knowledge acquisition, and satisfaction with nutrition modules delivered online in interactive and non-interactive formats.

METHODS: From December 2010 through August 2011, pediatric trainees from seventy-three (73) different U.S. programs completed online nutrition modules designed to develop residents' knowledge of counseling around and management of nutritional issues in children. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 19. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used in comparing interactive versus non-interactive modules. Pretest/posttest and module evaluations measured knowledge acquisition and satisfaction.

RESULTS: Three hundred and twenty-two (322) pediatric trainees completed one or more of six modules for a total of four hundred and forty-two (442) accessions. All trainees who completed at least one module were included in the study. Two-way analyses of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures (pre/posttest by interactive/non-interactive format) indicated significant knowledge gains from pretest to posttest (p < 0.002 for all six modules). Comparisons between interactive and non-interactive formats for Module 1 (N = 85 interactive, N = 95 non-interactive) and Module 5 (N = 5 interactive, N = 16 non-interactive) indicated a parallel improvement from the pretest to posttest, with the interactive format significantly higher than the non-interactive modules (p < .05). Both qualitative and quantitative data from module evaluations demonstrated that satisfaction with modules was high. However, there were lower ratings for whether learning objectives were met with Module 6 (p < 0.03) and lecturer rating (p < 0.004) compared to Module 1. Qualitative data also showed that completion of the interactive modules resulted in higher resident satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS: This initial assessment of the PNS modules shows that technology-mediated delivery of a nutrition curriculum in residency programs has great potential for providing rich learning environments for trainees while maintaining a high level of participant satisfaction.

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