Web-based continuing medical education (I): Field test of a hybrid computer-mediated instructional delivery system
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BACKGROUND: The Internet and the World Wide Web (the Web) present exciting new possibilities for distributing educational materials at a distance and facilitating collaborative learning among geographically isolated physicians. This article provides a brief overview of the Web as an instructional delivery platform and discusses its strengths and weaknesses as a potential medium for enhancing distance learning opportunities for rural and remote physicians. It also describes an innovative hybrid instructional delivery model that was field tested by the Telemedicine Centre to determine its efficiency and effectiveness for providing Web-based instruction. A hybrid model merges the Web and CD-ROMs (compact disk read-only memory) to use several of the more valuable instructional components of Web-based education (i.e., multimedia, interactive forms, hypermedia, and computer-mediated communications). The results of the field test indicate that the hybrid delivery model was an efficient means for delivering computer-mediated continuing medical education instruction on dermatologic office procedures to a group of rural physicians in low telecommunication bandwidth regions.
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