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Face-to-face versus online clinically integrated EBM teaching in an undergraduate medical school: a pilot study


Objectives The aim of this study was to test the feasibility and effectiveness of two models (face-to-face vs online teaching) of clinically integrating evidence-based medicine (EBM) teaching in an undergraduate medical school.

Design and setting A pilot study of face-to-face versus online EBM teaching.

Participants This study focused on undergraduate medical students who entered the University of Buckingham Medical School MBChB course in 2016 (n=65). Of the 65 students, 45 received face-to-face teaching, while 20 received online teaching.

Main outcome measures Feasibility was assessed by the ability to deliver the content, students’ engagement during teaching and their completion rates in formative assessments—Assessing Competency in EBM (ACE) tool, and educational prescriptions (EPs). Effectiveness of teaching for the two models was compared by evaluating students’ performance in the formative assessments and in the summative final professional examination and final year EBM objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).

Results We had similar students’ engagement and completion rates in formative assessments in both models. Students receiving face-to-face teaching performed better in EPs (mean difference=−2.28, 95% CI: −4.31 to –0.26). There was no significant difference in performances in the ACE tool (mean difference=−1.02, 95% CI: −2.20 to 0.16); the written final professional exams (mean difference=−0.11, 95% CI: −0.65 to 0.44) and the EBM OSCE station (mean difference=−0.81, 95% CI: −2.38 to 0.74).

Conclusions It was feasible to deliver both models of clinically integrated EBM teaching. While students in the face-to-face model scored higher in EPs; there was no significant difference between the two models of teaching as measured by performances in the ACE tool or the summative assessments.

  • medical education & training
  • evidence-based practice

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. The data are available to all interested researchers upon request. Please contact the corresponding author.

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