THE PURPOSE OF this meta-analysis was to synthesize the existing body of research examining teaching strategies used in patient education. An extensive literature search revealed 72 studies that met inclusion criteria. Studies were coded for general, substantive, and methodological characteristics, and an effect size was generated for each study. Mean effect size was 0.41, indicating that 66% of subjects receiving planned teaching had better outcomes than did control group subjects receiving routine care. Structure yielded the highest effect size, with reinforcement, independent study, and use of multiple strategies also above the study mean. Differences in mean effect size were also found in other variables (type of outcome measure, teaching content, type of instructional media, type of learning activity, retention of learning, quality of study methods, and publication date). Implications for research and clinical practice are discussed.
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