Using online instruction and virtual laboratories to teach hemostasis in a medical laboratory science program.Clin Lab Sci 2012; 25(4):224-9CL
Hemostasis laboratory testing methods have changed significantly over the past decades, from totally manual, to fully automated methodologies. Most medical laboratory educators prefer to use manual or semiautomated methods to teach hemostasis so that students can "see" what is occurring during the testing method, but many semi-automated instruments are no longer commercially available or are not cost-effective for education programs. In consideration of these factors and due to programmatic expansion to a coordinate campus, the CLS program explored new ways to teach hemostasis methods equitably and affordably across two distant locations. Working with an instructional design team versed in online education, five virtual hemostasis laboratory exercises were created that mimic the manual methodologies. Web-based didactic instruction was also developed to teach the testing theory and pathophysiology related to patient results. The efficacy of the virtual instruction was evaluated through assessment of student performance on exam questions, professional certification scores for the platelet/hemostasis sub-category, student satisfaction surveys, and evaluation of student performance during their clinical experience. Results showed that students in the virtual delivery format performed significantly better on exam questions compared to the traditional delivery method group, but there was no significant difference in their performance on the professional certification exam. Both student and preceptor feedback have been positive on the value of the exercises for students' understanding of hemostasis.