Table 1

Characteristics of included studies

First author, year, countryParticipants*Study design No. and duration of training sessionsDuration of interventionComparison(s) Type of outcome(s) of interestOutcome measures
Comparison: AEEs versus other educational interventions
Casebeer, 2003,
USA
PP; n=181RCT; post-test-only, 2 groupsFour sessions; 1 hour eachNRNRKnowledge21-item multiple-choice questionnaire
Skills
Cook, 2008,
USA
R; n=122RXT; post-test-only, 4 groupsFour sessions; 30 min each126 daysNEEKnowledge69-item case-based multiple-choice questionnaire
Crowley, 2010,
USA
PP; n=15RCT; pretest–post-test, 2 groupsFour sessions; 4 hours each138 daysPSkillsVirtual slide test to examine diagnostic accuracy
de Ruijter, 2018, the
Netherlands
NP; n=269RCT; pretest–post-test, 2 groupsNo fixed sessions180 daysNEEKnowledge18-item true-false questionnaire
(range 0–18)
Behaviour9-item self-reported questionnaire
(range 0–9)
Hayes-Roth, 2010
USA
MS, NS; n=30RCT; pretest–post-test–retention-test, 3 groupsNR; mean training time 2.36 hoursNR
  1. NEE

  2. NI

Skills6-item written skill probe (range −6–18)
Lee, 2017,
USA
MS; n=1522NRCT; pretest–post-test, 3 groupsFive sessions; NR42 daysNEEKnowledgeUnclear
SkillsMultidimensional situation-based questions—Real Index
(range 0%–100%)
BehaviourUnclear
Micheel, 2017,
USA
PP, NP; n=751NRCT; pretest–post-test–retention-test, 2 groupsNRNRNEEKnowledge10-item true-false questionnaire
(range 0–10)
Morente, 2013,
Spain
NS; n=73RCT; pretest–post-test, 2 groupsOne session; 4 hours1 dayTKnowledge22-item multiple-choice questionnaire
(range 0–22)
Munoz, 2010,
Colombia
MS; n=40NRCT; pretest–post-test, 2 groupsNR; mean training time 5.97 hoursNRNEEKnowledge10-item multiple-choice questionnaire
(range 0–10)
Romito, 2016,
USA
R; n=24NRCT; pretest–post-test–retention-test, 2 groupsOne session; 30 min1 dayNEE and TSkills22-item video clip-based test
Samulski, 2017,
USA
MS, R, PP; n=36RXT; pretest–post-test, 2 groupsTwo sessions; 20 min to 14 hours1 monthPKnowledge28-item multiple-choice questionnaire
(range 0%–100%)
Thai, 2015,
USA
HSC; n=87RCT; pretest–post-test–retention-test, 3 groupsOne session; 45 min1 day
  1. AEE

  2. NEE

Skills14-item case-based test (range 0%–100%)
Van Es, 2015,
Australia
R; n=43RXT; post-test-only, 2 groupsThree sessions; NR50 daysPKnowledge7-item to 21-item multiple-choice questionnaire
(range 0%–100%)
Van Es, 2016,
Australia
MS; n=46RXT; post-test-only, 2 groupsThree sessions; 2 hours each34 daysNEEKnowledgeMultiple-choice questionnaire
Wong, 2015,
Australia
MS; n=99RXT; post-test-only, 2 groupsTwo sessions; 1.5 hour each14 daysNEEKnowledge8-item multiple-choice and interactive questions
(range 0%–100%)
Wong, 2017,
USA
MS; n=178NRCT; pretest–post-test–retention-test, 3 groupsOne session; NR35 days
  1. T

  2. AEE and T

SkillsTest to examine diagnostic accuracy
Woo, 2006,
USA
MS; n=73NRCT; pretest–post-test, 3 groupsOne session; 2 hours1 day
  1. NEE

  2. NI

KnowledgeShort-response questionnaire
Comparison: adaptive e-learning vs adaptive e-learning (two AEEs with design variations)
Crowley, 2007,
USA
R; n=21RCT; pretest–post-test–retention-test, 2 groupsOne session; 4.5 hours1 dayAEEKnowledge51-item multiple-choice questionnaire
(range 0%–100%)
El Saadawi, 2008,
USA
R; n=20RXT; pretest–post-test, 2 groupsTwo sessions; 2 hours each1 dayAEESkillsVirtual slide test to examine diagnostic accuracy
El Saadawi, 2010,
USA
R; n=23RXT; pretest–post-test, 2 groupsTwo sessions; 2.25 hours each2 daysAEESkillsVirtual slide test to examine diagnostic accuracy
Feyzi-Begnagh, 2014,
USA
R; n=31RCT; pretest–post-test, 2 groupsTwo sessions; 2 hours and 3 hours1 dayAEEKnowledgeUnspecified test
  • *Participants: MS, medical students; NS, nursing students; R, residents (physicians in postgraduate training); PP, physicians in practice; NP, nurses in practice; HSC, health sciences students.

  • †Study design: RCT, randomised controlled trial; RXT, randomised cross-over trial; NRCT, non-randomised controlled trial.

  • ‡Comparison: AEE, adaptive e-learning environment; NEE, non-adaptive e-learning environment; NI, no-intervention control group; T, traditional (group lecture); P, paper (handout, textbook or latent image cases).

  • NR, not reported.