Towards Evidenced-Based Practice: A Comparison of Webinar to Classroom Instruction in Undergraduate Nursing Students
(41st Biennial Convention) Title Towards evidenced-based practice: A comparison of Webinar to Classroom Instruction in undergraduate nursing students. Purpose Synchronous (real-time) platforms such as Adobe® Acrobat® Connect and Elluminate Live® are being used in universities to deliver online seminars or webinars. Testimonials on the Wimba Classroom website applaud this technology yet published research on webinar effectiveness is lacking. If evidence is to drive educational practice, research of sufficient rigor is needed. An experimental study was therefore conducted to test the following hypothesis: baccalaureate student nurses randomly assigned to webinar instruction will score higher on a posttest administered immediately after a 30 minute learning module than baccalaureate student nurses randomly assigned to classroom instruction. Method The study was a two-group posttest only design guided conceptually by the andragogy in practice model and Bloom's revised taxonomy. 303 nursing students in a southern US university were randomly assigned to receive an optional learning module. The final sample was 113 webinar and 111 classroom participants. Participants in each semester level received the module at the university, on the same day, by the same instructor, using the same PowerPoint, and the same timed proctored online posttest. The posttest was a custom exam developed by Elsevier HESI® Testing. Results A positive Levene's test prompted use of the Welch's t-test. Based on an alpha of .05 no statistically significant difference was noted between the groups, t(215.8) = 0.251, p = .40. In this study of undergraduate nursing students webinar was as effective as classroom instruction in achieving learning outcomes. Conclusion. Possible threats to internal validity were explored and justified. This study addressed a gap in education research and provides beginning evidence of sufficient rigor (a power of .74 for a small effect) of the effectiveness of webinar instruction in undergraduate nursing students. Ongoing challenges and future global implications are discussed.