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Research Article

Differential white cell counts: an e-learning resource

Rosemary Hider

University of Manchester, 3.614 Stopford Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK


28 Sept 2009


12 Jan 2010


24 Feb 2010






e-learning resource, differential white cell counts


E-learning encourages positive student attitudes and has been shown to have a positive effect on the process of learning. Undergraduate nursing students at the University of Manchester are not provided with any practical haematology experience in their first year, and receive only a single lecture specific to white blood cell structure and function. The aim of the project was to produce an interactive e-learning resource to increase student knowledge of the five major types of white blood cell and the differential white cell count. The production of the resource followed the ADDIE instructional design model with phases of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation and Evaluation. A scenario-based approach was used in the design phase to illustrate the importance of the different white blood cells in a clinical setting. The development of the resource in Opus Professional allowed interactive features to be incorporated. The null hypothesis stated that the resource would not cause a significant improvement in student knowledge of this area. Assessment questions testing student knowledge were completed by randomly selected participants from the target audience assigned to two independent groups. The pre-resource group (n = 29) completed the questions without use of the e-learning resource or any alternative mode of teaching, whereas the post-resource group (n = 25) completed the questions after use of the resource. Scores from the pre- and post-resource groups were then compared in order to assess the effectiveness and functionality of the resource. Overall, there was a significant improvement in participant knowledge after use of the e-learning resource (Mann–Whitney U-test, U = 154.500, p = 0.000). This allowed the null hypothesis to be rejected and showed that the learning outcomes had been achieved. 92% of participants found the resource enjoyable while 84% thought that the resource was effective in improving their knowledge of this area. This confirms findings from other research that e-learning has positive effects on learning outcomes and that students enjoy this learning methodology.

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