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121 Systematic review of learning theories in patient education
  1. Aubrey E Jones1,
  2. Roger Kou2,
  3. Jayhan Kherani2,
  4. Ali Eshaghpour2,
  5. Kirsten R Butcher3,
  6. Angela Fagerlin4,
  7. Daniel M Witt1
  1. 1University of Utah College of Pharmacy, 30 S 2000 E Salt Lake City, UT 84112
  2. 2McMaster University, 90 Main St W, Hamilton, ON L8P 1H6, Canada
  3. 3University of Utah College of Educational Psychology 1721 Campus Center Drive Saec, 3220 S, Salt Lake City, UT 84109
  4. 4University of Utah School of Medicine 375 Chipeta Way, Salt Lake City, UT 84108


Introduction Patient education is essential to health care, yet its development often lacks meaningful connection to and incorporation of established learning theories. This study aimed to systematically review evidence surrounding use of learning theories in patient education strategies.

Methods A systematic search including terms like ‘learning theory’ and ‘patient education’ was done across five databases including MEDLINE and EBSCO. The main outcomes were knowledge retention or application of knowledge (via clinical outcomes).

Results From 4,449 articles, 347 underwent full-text review and 46 were included in data extraction (figure 1). Predominant learning theories reported were Social Learning/Cognitive Theory (72%), and adult learning theory (13%). Most common interventions were group sessions (50%) with discussions (33%). Studies assessed knowledge retention (72%) and application (63%). 83% of studies had a control group and of those, 66% of interventions were better than control. Included studies often did not report the level of detail needed for additional evaluation and had different levels of learning theory integration. On a 5-point scale, only 52% of studies were clear or very clear on their incorporation of learning theories in the intervention.

Discussion Significant heterogeneity of the methods and results made it difficult to assess impact of theories/strategies on outcomes. Few education interventions are theory-based, and the extent of theory integration into current studies varied widely. More guidance on the incorporation of learning theories in patient education is essential.

Conclusion(s) This study highlights the need for improved guidance in creating quality learning-theory based patient education materials.

Abstract 120 Figure 1

PRISMA diagram

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