Effectiveness of a web-based virtual journal club to promote medical education (Web-Ed): protocol of a multicentre pragmatic randomised trial (2022)

Type of publication:Randomised controlled trial

Author(s):Michael Rimmer, Nagla Elfaki, Cheryl Dunlop, Damien Coleburt, Neil Cowan, Olivia Raglan, Jhia Jiat Teh, Maria Fisher, Sarah Mcrobbie, Nilaani Murugesu, Meera Ramcharn, Mohamed Abdelrahman, *Yazid Jibrel, *Matthew Wood, *William Parry-Smith, Bassel H Al Wattar

Citation:BMJ Open, 2022 Vol.12, Issue 6

Abstract:Introduction: A journal club (JC) is a commonly used medical educational tool. Videoconferencing technology can facilitate the delivery of JCs, however, there remains no evidence on the role of web-based virtual JCs in promoting the acquisition and retention of medical knowledge. The Web-Ed trial aims to evaluate the educational benefits, feasibility and acceptability of web-based virtual JCs compared with traditional face-to-face ones.

Methods and analysis: Web-Ed is a multicentre pragmatic parallel-group randomised trial across teaching hospitals within the UK National Health Service (NHS). We will enrol qualified doctors or medical students who are >18 years old, proficient in English and able to use online videoconferencing software. Block randomisation will be used to allocate participants in 1:1 ratio to either intervention group. Both groups will be presented with the same educational material and follow a standardised JC structure hosted by nominated moderators and medical faculty members.

The primary outcome is the difference in participants’ knowledge acquisition and retention 7 days after the JCs evaluated using standardised multiple-choice questions. We will report secondarily on the feasibility and acceptability of the JCs using Likert scale questionnaires. Assuming a 30% drop-out rate, we aim to enrol 75 participants to detect a 20% improvement in knowledge acquisition at 80% power and 5% significance. We will report using mean difference or risk ratio with 95% CIs and assess significance using parametric/non-parametric testing. Where relevant, we will adjust for predetermined characteristics (age, grade of training and session duration) using multivariate regression analyses.

Ethics and dissemination: Web-Ed was designed by doctors in training to address their learning needs and evaluate the preferred mode of learning. The trial results will be published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at relevant scientific conferences. The trial has been approved by the NHS Health Regulation Authority (21/HRA/3361).

Trial registration number: ISRCTN18036769.

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