E-learning interventions are comparable to user's manual in a randomized trial of training strategies for the AGREE II
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BACKGROUND: Practice guidelines (PGs) are systematically developed statements intended to assist in patient and practitioner decisions. The AGREE II is the revised tool for PG development, reporting, and evaluation, comprised of 23 items, two global rating scores, and a new User's Manual. In this study, we sought to develop, execute, and evaluate the impact of two internet interventions designed to accelerate the capacity of stakeholders to use the AGREE II. METHODS: Participants were randomized to one of three training conditions. 'Tutorial'--participants proceeded through the online tutorial with a virtual coach and reviewed a PDF copy of the AGREE II. 'Tutorial + Practice Exercise'--in addition to the Tutorial, participants also appraised a 'practice' PG. For the practice PG appraisal, participants received feedback on how their scores compared to expert norms and formative feedback if scores fell outside the predefined range. 'AGREE II User's Manual PDF (control condition)'--participants reviewed a PDF copy of the AGREE II only. All participants evaluated a test PG using the AGREE II. Outcomes of interest were learners' performance, satisfaction, self-efficacy, mental effort, time-on-task, and perceptions of AGREE II. RESULTS: No differences emerged between training conditions on any of the outcome measures. CONCLUSIONS: We believe these results can be explained by better than anticipated performance of the AGREE II PDF materials (control condition) or the participants' level of health methodology and PG experience rather than the failure of the online training interventions. Some data suggest the online tools may be useful for trainees new to this field; however, this requires further study.
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