Synchronous distance education vs traditional education for health science students: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Resource type
Journal Article
Authors/contributors
Title
Synchronous distance education vs traditional education for health science students: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Abstract
Context Synchronous distance education (SDE) has been widely used for health science students in recent years. This study examined the effectiveness and acceptance of SDE compared with traditional education for health science students and explored the potential moderators that could impact the pooled results. Methods A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) from January 2000 to March 2020 searched on nine electronic databases, including Web of Science, PubMed, Cochrane Library, Scopus, EMBASE, CINAHL, ERIC, PsycINFO, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. The outcomes measured were knowledge, skills with objective assessments and overall satisfaction with subjective evaluations. The pooled results were calculated using random-model effects, and moderators were explored through meta-regression. Results A total of seven RCTs with 594 participants were included. At the post-test level, the pooled effect size of knowledge acquisitions (SMD 0.12, 95% CI −0.07-0.32) showed insignificant difference between the SDE and traditional education groups (P = .207), with low heterogeneity (I2 = 17.6%). Subgroup analyses observed no factors that significantly impacted the pooled results of knowledge acquisition at the post-test levels (P for interaction > 0.05). Knowledge gains from pretest to post-test in SDE groups also did not differ significantly between groups (SMD 0.15, 95% CI −0.22-0.53; P = .428). The pooled effect size of skills (SMD 0.02, 95% CI −0.24-0.28; P = .735) was similarly insignificant. The pooled effect size of overall satisfaction (SMD 0.60, 95% CI 0.38-0.83; P < .001) significantly favoured SDE over traditional education. Incorporating two-group studies without randomisations did not significantly change the overall results of knowledge acquisition at the post-test level (SMD −0.002, 95% CI −0.11-0.10; P = .994), with moderate heterogeneity (I2 = 61.9%). Conclusions Synchronous distance education was not significantly different from traditional education in effectiveness and had higher satisfaction ratings. Our findings might provide indications for adoptions of online remote education in health science education centres.
Publication
Medical Education
Volume
55
Issue
3
Pages
293-308
Date
2021
Language
en
ISSN
1365-2923
Short Title
Synchronous distance education vs traditional education for health science students
Accessed
05/04/2022, 20:23
Library Catalog
Wiley Online Library
Citation
He, L., Yang, N., Xu, L., Ping, F., Li, W., Sun, Q., Li, Y., Zhu, H., & Zhang, H. (2021). Synchronous distance education vs traditional education for health science students: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medical Education, 55(3), 293–308. https://doi.org/10.1111/medu.14364