Blended learning involves an education that combines in-person teaching with online learning platforms. This teaching method is especially useful in nursing curricula because online learning platforms easily host simulations, role-modeling videos, and helpful infographics which are promising methods to help nursing students develop competence in current best practices. Staff turnover, decreasing resources for teachers in higher education institutions, and the increasing complexity of comorbidity cases has led to the increased implementation of cost efficient continuing education learning platforms. Often, when studying the impact of blended learning, systematic reviews focus on only quantitative studies. In a recent systematic review, McCutcheon, Lohan, Traynor, and Martin (2014) also included qualitative studies to reflect the subjective experiences of nursing students exposed to blended learning practices.
15 Studies on the Impact of Blended Learning
- According to Keefe and Wharrad (2012), nursing students who participated in an e-learning intervention on pain management showed a significant improvement in knowledge.
- According to Durmaz et al. (2012), nursing students who completed a screen-based computer simulation training for pre- and postop surgical care had stronger patient admission skills for surgical care than those in the control group who had completed a traditional laboratory training.
- According to Gerdsprasert et al. (2011), nursing students who completed a web-based training on intrapartum care via online learning platforms demonstrated greater knowledge, competency, and performance than students who completed only an in-person lecture.
- According to McMullen et al.’s (2011) study, the e-drug calculations video was much more effective in teaching drug calculation abilities than the traditional handout method. However, there were no significant differences in individuals’ confidence in their drug calculation abilities between individuals viewing the video and those receiving the handout.
- Gerdsprasert et al. (2010) found that nursing students in a web-based learning group reported having a greater understanding of factors affecting the process of However, there was no significant difference in learning outcomes between the traditional learning and web-based learning group regarding fetal and placental development.
- Bloomfield et al. (2010) reported that after 8 weeks, the computer-assisted learning group showed higher scores in hand washing skills than those in the traditional learning group.
- Kaveevivitchai et al (2009) reported that the computer-assisted learning groups scored higher than those in the traditional lecture or traditional demonstration groups regarding the performance of vital signs assessment skills. Additionally, students in the computer-assisted learning groups reported higher satisfaction than students in the traditional lecture or demonstration groups.
- Reime et al. (2008) reported that the traditional learning group had higher scores on epidemiology and preoperative preparation than the e-learning group, though the e-learning group highly rated interactive test integration provided by online learning platforms.
- Gega et al. (2007) reported that there were no significant differences between computer-aided self-instruction and face-to-face teaching groups regarding knowledge acquired, skill set acquired, and satisfaction with teaching methods. Further, there were no observed added benefits from blending computer-aided self-instruction and face-to-face teaching approaches.
- When McConville and Lane (2006) assessed the effectiveness of integrating videos to enhance students’ self-efficacy in communicating with challenging patients, they found that over time, the videos had a significant effect in improving student self-efficacy when dealing with difficult patients.
- Jang et al. (2005) found that individuals in the web-based electrocardiogram group were better able to interpret test results than individuals in a solely face-to-face teaching group. Despite this, no significant difference was found between the web-based group and face-to-face group regarding student motivation and satisfaction with their designated teaching method.
- Kim et al. (2003) found that individuals in the CD-ROM group were significantly more satisfied with their teaching approach than individuals exposed to printed materials in learning the San-Yin-Jiao pressure procedure for pain relief during child labor. Despite this, there were no significant differences between individuals in the CD-ROM group and printed materials group regarding knowledge acquired or skill performance.
- Kenny (2002) reported that students exposed to an online learning environment benefited from the flexibility of an online course, the exposure to a web-based platform to increase computer confidence, and the ability to develop active skills with an LMS.
- Bauer and Huynh (2001) compared outcomes for three nursing student groups: a conventional learning group, a computer-assisted learning group, and an online-only learning group. Bauer and Huynh (2001) found that there was greater adherence to the recommended blood pressure procedure in a conventional learning and computer-assisted learning group than in an online-only learning group. In fact, the online-only learning group demonstrated poorer skill acquisition than the computer-assisted learning group and the conventional learning group.
- Jeffries (2001) found that learning the proper procedure for drug administration via CD-ROM led to higher acquired knowledge than that acquired by the traditional lecture group. Despite this, no significant difference in the performance of this newly acquired skill set was found between the CD-ROM and traditional lecture groups. (as cited in McCutcheon et al., 2014)
All in all, the majority of studies indicated that online learning platforms and blended learning environments were no less effective than traditional, face-to-face learning environments. Therefore, switching to a more cost-effective alternative should no longer be a difficult decision (McCutcheon et al., 2014). As more institutions integrate this technological innovation, more studies can be done to determine the long-term effectiveness of these programs. Unfortunately, few studies in this systematic review focused on the long-term learning outcomes of a blended learning education versus a more traditional face-to-face education. Further, more studies should be done on the impact of blended learning environments, rather than studies simply comparing solely online and solely face-to-face teaching approaches.
McCutcheon, K., Lohan, M., Traynor, M., & Martin, D. (2014). A systematic review evaluating the impact of online or blended learning vs. face-to-face learning of clinical skills in undergraduate education. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 71, 255–270. doi:10.1111/jan.12509