Is blended learning delivery as effective as 100% face-to-face delivery for qualified critical care nursing programs?

Kincaid, Heather (2023) Is blended learning delivery as effective as 100% face-to-face delivery for qualified critical care nursing programs? In: The Intensive Care Society, State of the Art 2023, Congress; 27-29 Jun 2023, Birmingham, U.K..


Introduction: The provision of healthcare education has rapidly evolved in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the shortage of qualified critical care nurses in the UK. Health Education England (HEE) identified the need to train 11,000 critical care nurses over the next 3-4 years, leading to the launch of a national blended learning framework for critical care education1. The overarching aims of this initiative were to train more qualified critical care nurses to the minimum standards outlined in the Guidelines for the Provision of Intensive Care Services and permit flexibility with study leave rostering2. The guideline stipulates that at least 50% of nurses should have a post-registration award of 60 credits accredited at least at level 6, encompassing the knowledge and skills competence in Steps 2 and 3 of the National Competency Framework of Registered Nurses in Adult Critical Care3. Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), Critical Care Networks and Acute Trusts faced the challenge of adapting to a blended learning programme as contracted through the HEE national framework. Previously, the critical care course delivery was 100% face-to-face (F2F). As an HEI on the HEE blended delivery framework, the alignment between ‘on campus’ synchronous learning activities to digitally enabled asynchronous learning was weighted towards 70% asynchronous learning. The theoretical underpinnings of the ‘Community of Inquiry Model’ were applied to the blended learning pedagogy4. This included using enhanced learning technology applications such as; MS Teams®, Canvas®, Padlet® and Mentimeter® to create social, cognitive and teaching presence. ABC Learning Design, which includes six different learning types, were incorporated to support active learning through meaningful dialogue and collaboration5. Objectives: The objective was to evaluate if delivering a qualified programme using blended learning would result in similar academic achievements compared to the 100% F2F delivery method. Methods: The study compared students’ academic achievements between those that completed a 60-credit module using 100% F2F and blended delivery within the same academic year. The assessment methods, unseen exam and written essay, and marking criteria were kept the same for both delivery methods. The marks in each delivery method were compared using Excel® and analysed for each assessment. Results: F2F delivery mean marks: exam = 57% (n=26), and essay = 63% (n=29). Blended delivery mean marks: exam = 63% (n=46) and essay = 59% (n=46). Occurrence of F2F exam resits = 19.2% (n=5) and essay resits = 13.8% (n= 4). Comparatively, the occurrence of blended delivery exam resits = 8.7% (n=4), and the essay resists =15.2% (n=7).

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