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Randomized study to compare two methods of e-learning of ECG interpretation among medical students
Agnieszka Stępień, , Michał Pacia, Sebastian Janiec, Wojciech Chemielak
Students’ Scientific Group at the Department of Cardiac and Vascular Diseases IC UJ CM in The John Paul II Hospital in Krakow, Poland

Aim: To compare the effectiveness of two methods of ECG e-learning among medical students: collaborative e-learning (C-el) and individual e-learning (I-eL).

Introduction: Electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation is an essential skill in medicine. The best method of ECG education has not been determined.

Methods: Sixty 5th-year students from the Jagiellonian University Medical College were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to the C-eL and I-eL groups. C-eL group students were further randomly divided into 6 subgroups of 5 students. Students from the I-eL group received by e-mail an ECG recording with comprehensive description every second day; at that time students from the C-eL group received the ECG recording without any description. C-eL students were encouraged to cooperate in analyzing the ECG in subgroups using internet platform and were expected to submit interpretation of the ECG recording to coordinator after 48h. Afterwards they received comprehensive description of the ECG. Before starting the study all students participated in a pretest assessing their basic theoretic knowledge. The effects of e-learning were assessed at a final e-test. The main endpoint of the study was the number of students who passed the final e-test.

Results: Basic knowledge was similar in both study groups. Students from the I-eL group answered correctly to 9.0±1.0 (90±10%) and from the C-eL group to 9.5±0.6 (95±6%) questions, p=0.07.

The main endpoint was achieved more frequently in the C-eL than in the I-eL group: 17 (63%) vs 10 (35.7%) students respectively, p=0.045. C-eL group students, as compared to I-eL group students, achieved more points in the final e-test (12.3 vs. 11.0 points respectively, p=0.036) and also better results in ECG interpretation (4.1 vs. 3.4; p=0.03).

Conclusion: Collaborative e-learning of electrocardiography in 5th year medical students is superior to individual e-learning.

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