Wednesday, July 1, 2015

An Assessment of a Distance Education Lecture Series in Child Abuse Pediatrics

Kathi Makoroff, MD, MEd
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Child abuse is an important problem; inflicted injury kills many young children. All physicians in the United States are mandated reporters and are required to report all suspected cases of child abuse and neglect. Yet, most physicians feel uncomfortable with the recognition and management of cases of child abuse because they have not received adequate education and training in the area of child maltreatment. Not every medical student or pediatric resident is exposed to or receives teaching about recognizing and managing cases of child abuse from experts in the field of Child Abuse Pediatrics. One way to bridge the divide between the needs of learners and the availability of instructors and resources is through the use of distance education (distance learning).
The purpose of this project was to develop a distance education method for teaching Child Abuse Pediatrics that is both feasible and well accepted. A synchronous distance education method employing a lecture series of core topics in Child Abuse Pediatrics was used. The learners included senior medical students and residents. The learners evaluated each lecture with free-text comments. Two major themes emerged from the evaluations. The first was that there are some technologic barriers to a distance education program. The second theme was that learners preferred teaching methodologies that used cases and other interactive techniques that encouraged participation of learners.. This project measured the learner’s reaction to a distance education method. This is a first step in the evaluation process. Additional and expanded work is needed for a complete evaluation of distance learning.