Is the author associated with a reputable institution or organization?
Mikael Nilsson and Jan Ostergren are members of the Department of Medicine in Karolinska University Hospital of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden while Uno Fors is a member of the Department of Computer and Systems Science in Stockholm University in Sweden and Annette Rickenlund, Lennart Jordeldt, Kenneth Caidahl, and Gunilla Bolinder are members of the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery in Karolinska University Hospital of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
Is the research timely or current?
The article Does individual learning styles influence the choice to use a web-based ECG learning program in a blended learning setting? (Nilsson et al., 2012) was received by the BMC Medical Educational journal in 2011 and published in 2012, which means that it meets the criteria for a current journal article or an article that has been published in the last five years. The article also contains information that is relevant to the topic of this paper.
Highlight or underline main steps in the research process.
In the article Does individual learning styles influence the choice to use a web-based ECG learning program in a blended learning setting? (Nilsson et al., 2012), the authors used a quantitative method in gathering and analyzing data that measured the participants’ level of activity in using the web-based ECG interpretation program and their learning styles. The study involved 123 medical students who were attending the traditional ECG-training course (i.e. involving seminars and lectures) at the Karolinska University hospital in Solna and Huddinge.
The students were allowed to access the web-based learning program whenever they wanted through the university’s learning management system called Ping Pong. This system automatically monitored and recorded the amount of time that a student or user was logged into the system. On the other hand, the students’ learning styles were determined by using the instrument Index of Learning Styles (ILS) by Felder and Silverman. The students were also asked to fill in a general questionnaire, which included questions about their estimation of previous experience of E-learning, their preference for future medical specialty, their ranking of the pedagogic value of the ECG program’s three learning modules (i.e. interpretation training, self assessment, and learning content), and about computer and Internet usage in general.
What is the purpose of this article?
The article Does individual learning styles influence the choice to use a web-based ECG learning program in a blended learning setting? (Nilsson et al., 2012) described the findings of a study, which aimed to investigate whether medical students’ individual learning styles influenced their choice to use a web-based ECG training program in a blended learning environment. With the limited time available for teaching the medical curriculum due to the expansion of knowledge and the incorporation of new educational modules that aim to broaden medical students’ competency, it is important to determine the most effective strategies to use for promoting learning in the field of medicine. ECG interpretation is a specific field that continues to be a challenge for both medical professionals and students. Although previous studies have shown that majority of students prefer to learn about ECG interpretation through a web-based learning program, there are still some who prefer to learn it through the use of a book. In this regard, the study by Nilsson et al. (2012) aimed to determine whether the students’ learning styles or other characteristics influenced their choice of whether to use a web-based ECG learning program or not.
How was the study carried out?
Through the use of the log information in Karolinska Institute’s learning management system, the researchers (Nilsson et al., 2012) considered a user who had logged on to the system for at least 30 minutes as an “active user.” On the other hand, categorical data was analyzed through the use of a Chi square test and if a group consisted of less than five students, Fisher’s exact test was used. In addition, numerical data was analyzed through the use of the Mann-Whitney U-test. SPSS 17.0 was also used for performing the statistical analysis. As well, SAS System 9.1 was used for the calculation of Cronbach’s alpha for each dimension of the ILS. The level of statistical significance was set to ρ < 0.05. The researchers also used tables to display the results, such as the results on the user activity; the participant’s background characteristics; and the relationship between the students’ learning styles and the ECG learning program’s three types of modules.
Is the research question significant to your study?
The research question posed in Nilsson et al.’s (2012) study is significant to the writer’s study as the writer’s study focuses on how students’ learning styles can be used to develop more effective academic curricula that would lead to improved student outcomes. In the same regard, the study by Nilsson et al. (2012) investigated whether a curriculum that involved an online form of teaching (i.e. the web-based ECG learning program) would be preferable for medical students. It would be intuitive to assume that a preference for this learning strategy would mean that it is an effective learning tool.
Is the publication organized logically?
The article Does individual learning styles influence the choice to use a web-based ECG learning program in a blended learning setting? (Nilsson et al., 2012) was logically organized as it contained all of the sections or components that are expected to be included in a scholarly article, particularly the Abstract, the Background, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion sections. Since various types of data were collected and analyzed, the Methods section was further broken down into subsections that described the methods used for collecting data about the participants’ usage of the web-based ECG learning program and about their learning styles. The methods used for measuring user activity and for performing statistical analysis were also described in their corresponding subsections. In the same regard, the Results section was broken down into subsections in order to clearly describe the general findings; the learning styles and level of usage; the ranking of the educational benefits; and the user definition.
What are the researcher’s main conclusions?
The researchers’ (Nilsson et al., 2012) main conclusion was that neither the students’ learning styles nor their other characteristics seemed to influence their choice of whether to use the web-based ECG learning program or not. According to the researchers (Nilsson et al.), this could be because these medical students had a high capacity of adapting their studies to different learning situations. Moreover, the students’ choice of not using the online learning program may not be based solely on their learning style but can be because of the time needed to become familiar with a web-based medium for learning and because the students have more time for studying in environments where computers are not available, such as in non-computerized areas within the university, in bed, or on the bus. In this regard, the researchers (Nilsson et al., 2012) concluded that medical educators do not have to take learning styles into consideration in the implementation of web-based learning programs and that such programs serve as suitable alternative learning tools for most medical students regardless of their learning styles and other characteristics.