Background: Each year, more than 1.5 million health care professionals receive advanced life support (ALS) training.
Objective: To determine whether a blended approach to ALS training that includes electronic learning (e-learning) produces outcomes similar to those of conventional, instructor-led ALS training.
Design: Open-label, noninferiority, randomized trial. Randomization, stratified by site, was generated by Sealed Envelope (Sealed Envelope, London, United Kingdom). (International Standardized Randomized Controlled Trial Number Register: ISCRTN86380392)
Setting: 31 ALS centers in the United Kingdom and Australia.
Participants: 3732 health care professionals recruited between December 2008 and October 2010.
Intervention: A 1-day course supplemented with e-learning versus a conventional 2-day course.
Measurements: The primary outcome was performance in a cardiac arrest simulation test at the end of the course. Secondary outcomes comprised knowledge- and skill-based assessments, repeated assessment after remediation training, and resource use.
Results: 440 of the 1843 participants randomly assigned to the blended course and 444 of the 1889 participants randomly assigned to conventional training did not attend the courses. Performance in the cardiac arrest simulation test after course attendance was lower in the electronic advanced life support (e-ALS) group compared with the conventional advanced life support (c-ALS) group; 1033 persons (74.5%) in the e-ALS group and 1146 persons (80.2%) in the c-ALS group passed (mean difference, −5.7% [95% CI, −8.8% to −2.7%]). Knowledge- and skill-based assessments were similar between groups, as was the final pass rate after remedial teaching, which was 94.2% in the e-ALS group and 96.7% in the c-ALS group (mean difference, −2.6% [CI, −4.1% to 1.2%]). Faculty, catering, and facility costs were $438 per participant for electronic ALS training and $935 for conventional ALS training.
Limitations: Many professionals (24%) did not attend the courses. The effect on patient outcomes was not evaluated.
Conclusion: Compared with conventional ALS training, an approach that included e-learning led to a slightly lower pass rate for cardiac arrest simulation tests, similar scores on a knowledge test, and reduced costs.
Primary Funding Source: National Institute of Health Research and Resuscitation Council (UK).