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Failure of a Web-Based Educational Tool to Improve Residents' ABSITE Scores

Charles M Ferguson, Andrew L Warshaw
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

Objective: Assess the effect of a web-based educational tool on residents' ABSITE scores
Design: Before and after trial
Setting: Academic surgical residency in a tertiary care, university hospital
Participants: Nineteen PGY1 and 2 residents were given unlimited access to a web-based educational tool.
Interventions: All PGY1 and 2 residents were given unlimited access to a web-based educational tool aimed at early-level residents in surgery. The educational tool covers the basic science of surgery and basic concepts of clinical surgery, and uses a variety of educational techniques (readings, problem based learning, case based learning, and practice tests). Though residents were encouraged to complete the learning package, they were not required to do so.
Main Outcome Measures: ABSITE scores and change in ABSITE scores were compared to the amount of time residents spent using the program and the number of tutorials completed.
Results: There was no significant difference in ABSITE scores before or after the use of the web-based educational tool. There was no significant relationship between use of the tool (either in total time or total tutorials) and ABSITE score. For PGY2 residents, there was a negative relationship between total time spent on the program and ABSITE score (linear regression analysis best-fit slope -0.204+/-0.1, r2=0.33) and total tutorials completed and ABSITE score (linear regression analysis best-fit slope of -0.3397+/-0.22, r2=0.25).
Conclusions: We could not demonstrate a beneficial effect of a web-based educational tool on cognitive knowledge of our residents, as measured by ABSITE scores.

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