Background:Long-term skills assessment following laboratory training is often impractical, if not impossible, due to the difficulty of replicating lab practicum assessments once a course is over. Recognizing this challenge, an online evaluation instrument containing a series of 5 high-quality microscopy videos, as well as case study questions and a skill self-assessment, was created for a 1-day Wet Prep Microscopy course.
Objectives:Determine the effectiveness, practicality and acceptability of using online video simulation to perform long-term evaluation of laboratory skills.
Methods:A comprehensive evaluation instrument was developed to assess immediate and long-term student gains in knowledge and skills after attending a laboratory-based Wet Prep Workshop. The 3-month follow-up evaluation, created online, included videos of actual wet prep slides (including normal controls, yeast, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis) for students to identify. The videos were optimized to balance the need for high-quality images with the need for minimal download time. A $10 gift certificate was offered as a completion incentive.
Results:The online instrument and video clips, combined with the incentive, resulted in a 53.6% (45/84) response rate. Immediately after the training, participants correctly identified 88.3% of wet prep slides. After three months, respondents correctly identified 84.5% of online wet prep slides (difference not statistically significant). Only four (8.9%) participants noted technical difficulties, attributed to older software or slow connection speeds.
Conclusions:Online evaluation offers innovative opportunities for assessing long-term training effectiveness that are appealing to participants. Online video simulates the laboratory practicum experience to measure sustained proficiency in skills in an inexpensive and user-friendly way.
Implications for Programs, Policy, and/or Research:Online video simulation may be beneficial to institutions, however, cross-platform compatibility, video resolution and user bandwidth should all be considered.