A blended learning continuing education course may appeal to busy healthcare professionals because the primary content can be learned online while an in-person component can hone clinical skills. The current study assessed knowledge retention in a sample of healthcare professionals who participated in a nationwide sexual assault forensic examiner blended learning course (12-week online course and 2-day in-person patient simulation).
Participants' characteristics, motivation, and external barriers were collected through a precourse web-based survey. Participants' knowledge was assessed through pretests and posttests for 12 modules and a 3-month postcourse examination. Utilizing repeated measures analysis of variance, the study examined whether participants retained their knowledge at the 3-month follow-up point. Multiple linear regression was utilized to explore the factors associated with knowledge retention.
The results found a knowledge score from 77.92% to 68.83% correct. The findings indicate that participants who were interested in the blended learning course because of the 2-day patient simulation were more likely to retain knowledge. Learners with more years of experience also had slightly higher knowledge retention. Conversely, participants who were interested in becoming a sexual assault forensic examiner because of a sexual assault experience had lower knowledge retention. Participation in a past online course also was associated with a reduction in knowledge retention.
The findings indicate a modest knowledge loss 3 months after the blended learning course. Still, some participants experienced less knowledge retention than others. Postcourse activities such as a brief refresher course may be useful to help these participants maintain their knowledge gains.