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A randomised controlled trial of blended learning to improve the newborn examination skills of medical students
  1. Alice Stewart1,
  2. Garry Inglis2,3,
  3. Luke Jardine3,4,
  4. Pieter Koorts2,3,
  5. Mark William Davies2,3
  1. 1Department of Neonatology, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2Department of Neonatology, Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
  3. 3Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  4. 4Department of Neonatology, Mater Mother's Hospital, Brisbane, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Alice Stewart, Monash Medical Centre, Department of Neonatology, Melbourne, Victoria 3168, Australia; AliceE.Stewart{at}


Objective To evaluate the hypotheses that a blended learning approach would improve the newborn examination skills of medical students and yield a higher level of satisfaction with learning newborn examination.

Method Undergraduate medical students at a tertiary teaching hospital were individually randomised to receive either a standard neonatology teaching programme (control group), or additional online access to the PENSKE Baby Check Learning Module (blended learning group). The primary outcome was performance of newborn examination on standardised assessment by blinded investigators. The secondary outcomes were performance of all ‘essential’ items of the examination, and participant satisfaction.

Results The recruitment rate was 88% (71/81). The blended learning group achieved a significantly higher mean score than the control group (p=0.02) for newborn examination. There was no difference for performance of essential items, or satisfaction with learning newborn examination. The blended learning group rated the module highly for effective use of learning time and ability to meet specific learning needs.

Conclusions A blended learning approach resulted in a higher level of performance of newborn examination on standardised assessment. This is consistent with published literature on blended learning and has implications for all neonatal clinicians including junior doctors, midwifes and nurse practitioners.

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