Blended vs. lecture learning : outcomes for staff development

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Heidi Hill Sherman (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site:
Linda Comer

Abstract: Knowledge of pharmacology is crucial to safe patient management for nurses orienting to critical care areas. Traditionally this education has been offered as a classroom lecture for new nurses. However, adult learning theory identifies the benefit of self-directed, self-paced learning to build on individual knowledge and experience. A review of prior research indicates a lack of studies considering alternative teaching methods for nursing continuing education. The intent of this study was to provide experimentally derived evidence relating to the effectiveness of blended (online with discussion) vs. traditional lecture format education. To examine learning outcomes, nurses new to critical care were randomized into a blended or lecture format with subsequent cognitive knowledge outcomes compared using a pretest, posttest design. Demographics were obtained from participants and analyzed to determine their impact related to the method of learning. In addition, effectiveness of each format was evaluated by the learner using a Likert scale survey and small focus group discussions. Results indicate no statistically significant difference in learning outcomes between the blended and lecture formats. Further, test results were equivalent regardless of participant age, gender, nursing experience, degree or prior online learning experience. A focus group comparison of satisfaction with teaching methods indicates overall positive findings for both blended and lecture learning. However, more positive themes were expressed by the blended group participants, especially relating to convenience, self-pacing and use of time. Implications include the opportunity to provide effective staff development education in blended or lecture format based on class availability, student choice, learning style, prior experience, unit requirements and desire for flexibility. Further considerations include cost-effectiveness of the blended format relating to instructor salary and staff paid time. Alternative methods for critical care pharmacology education enhance the educator’s options to provide learning in effective and timely formats.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2010
blended learning, computer learning, critical care, pharmacology, staff development
Nurses -- In-service training
Pharmacology -- Study and teaching (Continuing education)

Email this document to