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Table 3 Summary of findings table organised by contrast

From: A systematic review and meta-analysis of online versus alternative methods for training licensed health care professionals to deliver clinical interventions

Online training methods compared with alternative training methods for licensed health care professionals
Population: licensed health care professionals
Settings: community or health care settings
Intervention: online training
Comparison: alternative learning methods
Contrast/Outcome Standardised Mean Difference (95% CI) Participants (studies) Quality (GRADE) Comments
Face-to-Face Workshop
 Knowledge SMD 0.04 (−0.28, 0.36) 335 (3) + very lowa,b,d All assessments were study derived self-assessments. The online learning and workshop interventions ranged between 16 and 20 h. Two further studies assessed knowledge; however, the study data was not suitable to be included in the meta-analysis.
 Practical Skills SMD −0.15 (−0.52, 0.22) 114 (2) + very lowa,b,d Practical skills were assessed objectively with an objective structured clinical examination (n = 1) and a machine to certify the correct procedure had been performed (n = 1). Online and workshop training duration was similar within studies but different across studies: 15mins in one study and 20 h in the other. Two further studies assessed practical skills (both using role plays); however, the study data was not suitable to be included in the meta-analysis.
 Clinical Behaviour SMD 0.12 (−0.13, 0.37) 243 (4) ++ lowa,d Clinical behavior was assessed with self-reported measures in 3 studies, and with a medical record audit one study. In 3 studies, online and workshop interventions were the same duration and in one study the online training duration was not reported. Between studies, intervention duration ranged from 1.5 to 20 h.
 Self efficacy SMD 0.02 (−0.35, 0.38) 284 (2) + very lowa,b,d Both studies used self-reported likert scales. Online and workshop intervention duration was the same within each study, but varied between the studies from 20 h to 2 days.
 Satisfaction SMD −0.14 (−0.45, 0.17) 161 (2) + very lowa,b,d One study used a self-reported likert scale and the other study did provide any information on the measurement tool. Online and workshop intervention duration was the same within each study, but varied between the studies from 7 to 20 h. A third study assessed satisfaction; however, the study data was not suitable to be included in the meta-analysis.
Manual
 Knowledge SMD 0.99 (0.02, 1.96) 180 (3) + very lowa,b,d All assessments were study derived self-assessments. The online training was similar in two studies (20 h) and not reported in the other. No information was provided on length of time spent reading the manual in any study.
 Practical Skills No evidence
 Clinical Behaviour SMD 0.09 (−0.27, 0.46) 114 (2) + very lowa,c,d Both studies used self-reported measures of behavior. The online training intervention was the same duration in both studies (20 h).
 Self efficacy No evidence
 Satisfaction No evidence
Lecture     
 Knowledge SMD 0.22 (−0.08, 0.51) 184 (4) + very lowa,b,d All assessments were study derived self-assessments. The online learning and lecture interventions were different across studies ranging from 15 min to 20 h. In all but two studies, intervention duration was similar within each study. A fifth study (intervention duration 36 h) assessed this outcome but did not provide any usable data for analysis.
 Practical Skills SMD −0.25 (−0.93, 0.43) 34 (2) + very lowa,c,d Practical skills were assessed objectively with a series of objective structured clinical examinations (n = 1) and a machine to certify the correct procedure had been performed (n = 1). The duration of online and lecture interventions was the same within studies, and similar across studies, both being ≤1 h. A third study assessed this outcome but did not provide any usable data for analysis.
 Clinical Behaviour No evidence
 Self efficacy No evidence
 Satisfaction No evidence Two studies assess this outcome with a self-report measure. However, the data provided was not suitable for inclusion in a meta-analysis.
  1. aDowngraded due to risk of bias, bdowngraded due to inconsistency, cdowngraded due to indirectness, ddowngraded due to imprecision