To assess the educational efficacy of a Web-based pediatric advanced life support course (Web-PALS).
Nonrandomized, prospective, cohort study.
University medical center.
Health care providers (includes physicians, nurses, paramedics, and respiratory therapists) taking either the Web-PALS or a traditional PALS course (Trad-PALS).
Main Outcome Measures
Postcourse written examination scores and scored videotapes of students performing 5 PALS procedures were compared between study groups. Students completed precourse and postcourse questionnaires, rating on a 5-point Likert scale their self-confidence to perform PALS assessments and procedures. A structured, course satisfaction survey was given after students had taken the Web-PALS course.
Eighty-six students completed the study (44 Web-PALS and 42 Trad-PALS). All students achieved a passing score on the written examination on their first attempt. Compared with students in the Trad-PALS group, students in the Web-PALS group scored slightly lower (97.1% vs 95.4%; difference, 1.7%; 95% confidence interval, 0.1-3.2). Mean overall videotape scores were similar among the Web-PALS and Trad-PALS groups (75.0% vs 73.0%; difference, 2.0%; 95% confidence interval, −2.0 to 6.0). After completing the Web-PALS course, the mean level of confidence improved from 3.77 to 4.28 (difference, 0.51; 95% confidence interval, 0.33-0.69). Ninety-six percent of respondents indicated that Web-PALS met all of the stated objectives of the PALS course. All respondents indicated that they would recommend Web-PALS to a colleague.
Students perceive Web-PALS as a positive educational experience. Though not identical to students taking the Trad-PALS course, they performed well on postcourse cognitive and psychomotor testing. These findings support Web-PALS as an acceptable format for administering the PALS course.