Introduction: The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) Residency Review and Redesign in Pediatrics program (R3P) encourages the development of skills for life-long learning and patient care through innovative approaches such as simulation and computer-assisted learning (CAL). CAL caters to adult learning theory and transforms a passive learning experience into an active one with improved retention and application of knowledge. Studies show that CAL appears more effective than no intervention although a developing infrastructure to support e-learning within medical education is needed. Hypothesis: An interactive e-learning curriculum combined with traditional instruction in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is superior to traditional instruction alone in improving pediatric residency education. Methods: We performed a pilot randomized controlled trial (RCT) over a 12-month period in a cohort of first-year trainees (pediatric and internal medicine-pediatric residents) in a small urban pediatric residency program. Prior to beginning a 4-week NICU rotation, demographic information was collected and a standardized 23 item multiple choice question pre-test was administered to evaluate baseline knowledge. Trainees were randomized to either a control arm that received traditional instruction alone or an intervention arm that received a combination of traditional instruction with an e-learning curriculum. The e-learning curriculum consists of 8 interactive modules based upon the ABP’s 2016 General Pediatrics certification exam content specifications. Outcome measures included change in fund of knowledge as determined by pre- and post-intervention assessment exams as well as trainee self-satisfaction. Data were analyzed using an intention to treat model. The results are summarized as mean difference (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: 14 trainees were randomized to the control arm (N=7) or intervention arm (N=7). Eighty-six percent of participants reported previously using an online learning platform to supplement their education. For trainees randomized to the intervention group, most participants (N= 4, 57%) reported completing each e-learning module within ≤30 minutes. The results for all knowledge domains are summarized in Figure 1. The primary outcome of change in the overall fund of knowledge was higher in the intervention group compared to the control group [MD = -0.29; 95% CI -3.0 to 2.43]. More subjects in the intervention group expressed a desire to pursue neonatology compared with the control group [MD= -0.43; 95% CI -1.11 to 0.26]. All participants (100%) found the e-learning modules to be beneficial in improving NICU education. Conclusion: The findings from the RCT shows that e-learning curriculum combined with traditional learning is associated with improvement in the 8 knowledge domains. However, the change was not statistically significant likely attributable to the small sample size. Further studies with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm or refute these findings. These preliminary results suggest that an e-curriculum provides an excellent opportunity for standardized self-paced learning.

Figure 1

Impact of e-learning curriculum on self-reported knowledge domains and overall knowledge

Figure 1

Impact of e-learning curriculum on self-reported knowledge domains and overall knowledge

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