E-learning and traditional approaches in psychotherapy education: Comparison

Catherine Hickey (Lead / Corresponding author), Sean John McAleer, Donnamarie Khalili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is a trend towards delivering competency-based psychotherapy education in psychiatry training programmes, but many programmes are finding it difficult to meet the expanded requirements for learner competence in multiple modalities of psychotherapy. E-learning has been raised as a potential solution to the problem. However, there have been few studies determining if e-learning is any better than traditional learning. Aims: The objective of this study is to determine if online learning modules can enhance knowledge acquisition and learner satisfaction in psychotherapy education. Method: A need analysis was performed at one institution to determine the learning needs and preferences of the psychiatry residents. A blended course (consisting of traditional lectures, online modules and videotape review) was designed and developed based on these needs. Lectures and online modules were evaluated by means of pre-tests and post-tests. A paired t-test was used to determine if knowledge acquisition occurred in each online module and lecture group. An independent t-test was used to determine if there was greater knowledge acquisition in the online module group vs. the lecture group. A learner satisfaction questionnaire was distributed with each online module. Results: Nineteen residents completed the study. There was statistically significant knowledge acquisition in each online module and lecture group, however, there was no difference in knowledge acquisition between online modules and lectures. Learners were satisfied with the modules, but experienced minor technical difficulties. Conclusions: Online modules may enhance learner satisfaction in psychotherapy education. But there may be no difference in learning compared with traditional classroom-based lectures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-52
Number of pages5
JournalArchives of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Curriculum
  • E-learning
  • Online-learning
  • Psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology


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