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A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Blended Versus Face-to-Face Delivery of Evidence-Based Medicine to Medical Students.

Maloney S, Nicklen P, Rivers G, Foo J, Ooi YY, Reeves S, Walsh K, Ilic D - J. Med. Internet Res. (2015)

Bottom Line: However, the cost-effectiveness of delivering blended learning is unclear.The attribution and differentiation of costs between the interventions within the RCT was measured in conjunction with measured outcomes of effectiveness.Under the study conditions, a blended learning approach was more cost-effective to operate and resulted in improved value for the institution after the third year iteration, when compared to the traditional face-to-face model.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Monash University, Frankston, Australia. stephen.maloney@monash.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Blended learning describes a combination of teaching methods, often utilizing digital technologies. Research suggests that learner outcomes can be improved through some blended learning formats. However, the cost-effectiveness of delivering blended learning is unclear.

Objective: This study aimed to determine the cost-effectiveness of a face-to-face learning and blended learning approach for evidence-based medicine training within a medical program.

Methods: The economic evaluation was conducted as part of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing the evidence-based medicine (EBM) competency of medical students who participated in two different modes of education delivery. In the traditional face-to-face method, students received ten 2-hour classes. In the blended learning approach, students received the same total face-to-face hours but with different activities and additional online and mobile learning. Online activities utilized YouTube and a library guide indexing electronic databases, guides, and books. Mobile learning involved self-directed interactions with patients in their regular clinical placements. The attribution and differentiation of costs between the interventions within the RCT was measured in conjunction with measured outcomes of effectiveness. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was calculated comparing the ongoing operation costs of each method with the level of EBM proficiency achieved. Present value analysis was used to calculate the break-even point considering the transition cost and the difference in ongoing operation cost.

Results: The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio indicated that it costs 24% less to educate a student to the same level of EBM competency via the blended learning approach used in the study, when excluding transition costs. The sunk cost of approximately AUD $40,000 to transition to the blended model exceeds any savings from using the approach within the first year of its implementation; however, a break-even point is achieved within its third iteration and relative savings in the subsequent years. The sensitivity analysis indicates that approaches with higher transition costs, or staffing requirements over that of a traditional method, are likely to result in negative value propositions.

Conclusions: Under the study conditions, a blended learning approach was more cost-effective to operate and resulted in improved value for the institution after the third year iteration, when compared to the traditional face-to-face model. The wider applicability of the findings are dependent on the type of blended learning utilized, staffing expertise, and educational context.

No MeSH data available.


Equation for the PV break-even calculation where C=cost of teaching method, r=discount rate, t=number of years, and BL0=cost of transitioning to BL.
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figure2: Equation for the PV break-even calculation where C=cost of teaching method, r=discount rate, t=number of years, and BL0=cost of transitioning to BL.

Mentions: The sunk cost of transitioning to a BL format was not included within the ICER, as is typical within economic analyses. However, the transition costs are reported separately, due to its importance to decision makers considering implementation or adoption of similar pedagogy. A further present value (PV) break-even analysis incorporating transition costs was calculated using a real discount rate of 4% (Figure 2). Break-even analysis calculates the point in time at which the total running cost of the F2F approach equals the total running cost of the BL approach plus the cost of transitioning to BL. PV accounts for the time preference of money, allowing for present day comparisons to be made on future cash flows. Subsequent iterations of the program are assumed to occur at 1-year intervals. Due to commercial sensitivities, PV values are expressed as the difference between teaching methods.


A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Blended Versus Face-to-Face Delivery of Evidence-Based Medicine to Medical Students.

Maloney S, Nicklen P, Rivers G, Foo J, Ooi YY, Reeves S, Walsh K, Ilic D - J. Med. Internet Res. (2015)

Equation for the PV break-even calculation where C=cost of teaching method, r=discount rate, t=number of years, and BL0=cost of transitioning to BL.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4527010&req=5

figure2: Equation for the PV break-even calculation where C=cost of teaching method, r=discount rate, t=number of years, and BL0=cost of transitioning to BL.
Mentions: The sunk cost of transitioning to a BL format was not included within the ICER, as is typical within economic analyses. However, the transition costs are reported separately, due to its importance to decision makers considering implementation or adoption of similar pedagogy. A further present value (PV) break-even analysis incorporating transition costs was calculated using a real discount rate of 4% (Figure 2). Break-even analysis calculates the point in time at which the total running cost of the F2F approach equals the total running cost of the BL approach plus the cost of transitioning to BL. PV accounts for the time preference of money, allowing for present day comparisons to be made on future cash flows. Subsequent iterations of the program are assumed to occur at 1-year intervals. Due to commercial sensitivities, PV values are expressed as the difference between teaching methods.

Bottom Line: However, the cost-effectiveness of delivering blended learning is unclear.The attribution and differentiation of costs between the interventions within the RCT was measured in conjunction with measured outcomes of effectiveness.Under the study conditions, a blended learning approach was more cost-effective to operate and resulted in improved value for the institution after the third year iteration, when compared to the traditional face-to-face model.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Monash University, Frankston, Australia. stephen.maloney@monash.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: Blended learning describes a combination of teaching methods, often utilizing digital technologies. Research suggests that learner outcomes can be improved through some blended learning formats. However, the cost-effectiveness of delivering blended learning is unclear.

Objective: This study aimed to determine the cost-effectiveness of a face-to-face learning and blended learning approach for evidence-based medicine training within a medical program.

Methods: The economic evaluation was conducted as part of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing the evidence-based medicine (EBM) competency of medical students who participated in two different modes of education delivery. In the traditional face-to-face method, students received ten 2-hour classes. In the blended learning approach, students received the same total face-to-face hours but with different activities and additional online and mobile learning. Online activities utilized YouTube and a library guide indexing electronic databases, guides, and books. Mobile learning involved self-directed interactions with patients in their regular clinical placements. The attribution and differentiation of costs between the interventions within the RCT was measured in conjunction with measured outcomes of effectiveness. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was calculated comparing the ongoing operation costs of each method with the level of EBM proficiency achieved. Present value analysis was used to calculate the break-even point considering the transition cost and the difference in ongoing operation cost.

Results: The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio indicated that it costs 24% less to educate a student to the same level of EBM competency via the blended learning approach used in the study, when excluding transition costs. The sunk cost of approximately AUD $40,000 to transition to the blended model exceeds any savings from using the approach within the first year of its implementation; however, a break-even point is achieved within its third iteration and relative savings in the subsequent years. The sensitivity analysis indicates that approaches with higher transition costs, or staffing requirements over that of a traditional method, are likely to result in negative value propositions.

Conclusions: Under the study conditions, a blended learning approach was more cost-effective to operate and resulted in improved value for the institution after the third year iteration, when compared to the traditional face-to-face model. The wider applicability of the findings are dependent on the type of blended learning utilized, staffing expertise, and educational context.

No MeSH data available.