Tech-savvy teens learn about acne nearly as well with print material as via computer

March 4, 2008

New Haven - Results of a Yale University study suggest that computerized presentations and printed handouts are equally effective in improving teens’ knowledge about acne.

New Haven - Results of a Yale University study suggest that computerized presentations and printed handouts are equally effective in improving teens’ knowledge about acne.

According to a report in the February issue of Archives of Dermatology, the study results show that while computerized audiovisual presentations are effective learning tools in a clinic environment, printed handouts impart equivalent gains in knowledge about acne -which came as something of a surprise to the researchers, who had assumed young people would be more inclined to learn via computer.

The researchers studied 101 dermatology patients ages 13 to 17 in two steps, the first a pilot phase involving 21 patients, the second a revised phase (based on results of the pilot phase) that involved 80 patients.

In both phases, patients completed questionnaires and were randomized to printed handouts with acne information or to a computerized audiovisual presentation. The subjects repeated the acne questionnaires two more times: immediately after their educational interventions and a month later.

Patients in both groups showed significant improvement in acne knowledge compared with baseline in the pilot phase and in the revised phase. One month after intervention, patients in the revised study continued to demonstrate significant improvement in knowledge compared with baseline, regardless of the medium they had used.

The only significant difference occurred at the one-month follow-up in the pilot phase, in which patients randomized to the audiovisual presentation demonstrated significantly better retention.

“Patients receiving the written handout could control the pace at which they received information. Furthermore, patients received the handout immediately on completing a pre-intervention questionnaire,” the study’s authors write. “It is, therefore, possible that their reading of the material was more focused than would normally be the case.”

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