Objective - To evaluate the effectiveness of a self-learning computer module (SLCM) versus traditional instruction in teaching how to pass a nasogastric tube (NG) in the horse. Design - a double-blind, monocentric study. Sample population - 52 third-year students in the DVM program were randomly assigned to two groups: traditional instruction (N=25) or SLCM instruction (N=27). Procedure - Traditional instruction consisted of an instructor and live demonstration; SCLM students were given a CD-ROM each. Both sessions lasted one hour. The students were then united in one session to practice passing the NG tube. Their performance was videotaped and evaluated by two evaluators. Students were then given a multiple-choice knowledge quiz. One week later, a second demonstration of the same procedure by the two methods was administered, and students were allowed to choose either method of instruction. A Likert-scale questionnaire about their comfort, their confidence, and the appropriateness of the teaching method was given after the second demonstration. Data were analyzed by non-parametric tests. A focus-group study was conducted to determine students' perception of each teaching method. Nine participants in the experiment volunteered for these focus-group sessions. The sessions were audiotaped and transcribed. Results - Students in the SLCM group performed significantly better on the test of knowledge than traditionally instructed students. The questionnaire found significant perceived benefits to computer-based Instruction, including a preference for the computer-based module, better learning, and greater preparedness. In hands-on skill, time to pass the NG tube on the successful attempt was significantly shorter in the SLCM group than in the traditionally instructed group. The data from focus-group sessions suggest that while participants expressed satisfaction with both modes of instruction, the SLCM group reported somewhat higher levels of confidence in their skills prior to performing the procedure. Whereas the traditional group reported a strong preference for continued live demonstrations of the procedure, the SLCM group stated that the computer-assisted module alone provided them with effective instruction. Conclusion - computer-assisted learning Is an acceptable and effective method of training students to pass an NG tube with potential welfare, proficiency, and knowledge advantages.
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