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Data collection method

The TUTOR programs are intended as interactive self-paced learning programs.  Over 50% of the students had never used a computer before, therefore, individual use of the material as a computer-aided, self-paced learning tool seemed difficult.  Plenary training sessions and individual sessions supported by an instructor appeared most appropriate.

Plenary sessions were arranged at the auditorium of the National Public Health Laboratory in Teku, Kathmandu, Nepal.  Over fifty participants with varying levels of education and professional experience participated in the three-day training program.  Participants included, laboratory assistants, laboratory technicians, medical technologists and pathologists.   During the three-day program students were shown GramStain-TUTOR, PeripheralBlood-TUTOR and Urinalysis-TUTOR.  The TUTOR programs were projected onto a screen while an instructor, who supported the training session with aural explanations, guided participants through the program.  Some parts, deemed unsuitable or too elaborate for the audience, were left out.

In addition, during a one-week quality assurance training program in Surkhet, Mid-Western Nepal, the GramStain-TUTOR was shown to a group of 15 students.  Participants of this training program were laboratory workers, from all parts of the Mid-Western development region of Nepal.

Data collection was done through a self-completion questionnaire and informant interviews  (8) (9)After each TUTOR lesson, participants were requested to fill out a self-completion questionnaire.  The questionnaire evaluated the method of learning, learning outcome and the participantsí perception about the program.

On the third day of the training program, participants gathered in groups of ten students in front of a 19-inch computer screen and individual students used the TUTOR program while others interacted and supported the users.  A trainer was also present to address questions and provide technical user support.   Observations and remarks by participants were recorded to be included in the evaluation.

While note should be taken of the limited sample size, 47 individuals in one country, the information gathered allows some generalisability, as educational standards of primary healthcare laboratory personnel in many developing countries are deemed similar.  (10), (11), (12).  Time and financial resources did not permit a more extensive study.

Click here to view pictures of the training sessions in Nepal

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