Adaptive tutorials versus web-based resources in radiology: a mixed methods comparison of efficacy and student engagement

Wong, Vincent, Smith, Ariella J., Hawkins, Nicholas J., Kumar, Rakesh K., Young, Noel, Kyaw, Merribel and Velan, Gary M. (2015) Adaptive tutorials versus web-based resources in radiology: a mixed methods comparison of efficacy and student engagement. Academic Radiology, 22 10: 1299-1307. doi:10.1016/j.acra.2015.07.002

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Author Wong, Vincent
Smith, Ariella J.
Hawkins, Nicholas J.
Kumar, Rakesh K.
Young, Noel
Kyaw, Merribel
Velan, Gary M.
Title Adaptive tutorials versus web-based resources in radiology: a mixed methods comparison of efficacy and student engagement
Journal name Academic Radiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1878-4046
Publication date 2015-10-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.acra.2015.07.002
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 22
Issue 10
Start page 1299
End page 1307
Total pages 9
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Rationale and Objectives

Diagnostic imaging is under-represented in medical curricula globally. Adaptive tutorials, online intelligent tutoring systems that provide a personalized learning experience, have the potential to bridge this gap. However, there is limited evidence of their effectiveness for learning about diagnostic imaging.

Materials and Methods

We performed a randomized mixed methods crossover trial to determine the impact of adaptive tutorials on perceived engagement and understanding of the appropriate use and interpretation of common diagnostic imaging investigations. Although concurrently engaged in disparate blocks of study, 99 volunteer medical students (from years 1–4 of the 6-year program) were randomly allocated to one of two groups. In the first arm of the trial on chest X-rays, one group received access to an adaptive tutorial, whereas the other received links to an existing peer-reviewed Web resource. These two groups crossed over in the second arm of the trial, which focused on computed tomography scans of the head, chest, and abdomen. At the conclusion of each arm of the trial, both groups completed an examination-style assessment, comprising questions both related and unrelated to the topics covered by the relevant adaptive tutorial. Online questionnaires were used to evaluate student perceptions of both learning resources.


In both arms of the trial, the group using adaptive tutorials obtained significantly higher assessment scores than controls. This was because of higher assessment scores by senior students in the adaptive tutorial group when answering questions related to topics covered in those tutorials. Furthermore, students indicated significantly better engagement with adaptive tutorials than the Web resource and rated the tutorials as a significantly more valuable tool for learning.


Medical students overwhelmingly accept adaptive tutorials for diagnostic imaging. The tutorials significantly improve the understanding of diagnostic imaging by senior students.
Keyword eLearning
Adaptive tutorials
Diagnostic imaging
Medical education
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 21 Feb 2016, 13:05:40 EST by Nicholas Hawkins on behalf of School of Medicine