Measuring effectiveness of health education in a Web-based learning environment: A preliminary report
Driven by claims of efficacy, flexibility and resource effectiveness, higher education is increasingly utilising the Web as an instructional tool. The claims for pedagogical effectiveness are often just that – claims — and appear not to have been proven in the reality of subject presentation and evaluation. Thus, it is necessary to examine assumptions regarding the benefits of Web‐based instruction in terms of effectiveness. This article discusses aspects of an investigation which examined and compared the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS related collaborative tutorial activities carried out in both a Web‐based learning environment and a face‐to‐face class situation within an undergraduate health education subject. Effectiveness of the pedagogical strategy and the different learning environments were measured in terms of observed learning outcomes and reported perceptions of the learners regarding their learning experience. Preliminary results based on measured learning outcomes related to the subject matter, HIV/AIDS, demonstrated that collaborative learning activities were significantly more effective in the Web‐based than in the class environment. Additionally, the vast majority of learners perceived the Web‐based environment to be as effective or more effective than the face‐to‐face, class environment in terms of facilitating their understanding of the issues explored in the subject.