To determine the long-term retention of a 3-dimentional (3-D) educational computer model of the larynx to teach laryngeal anatomy and to compare it with standard written instruction (SWI).
Prospective randomized controlled trial.
University education program.
One hundred health care students.
For short-term assessment, 50 students were randomized to the 3-D model and 50 to SWI and were tested using a 20-question laryngeal test. Six months later, the same students were invited to retake the laryngeal anatomy test to examine long-term retention.
Main Outcome Measure
The score on a 20-item Web-based test that assessed the students' level of knowledge of laryngeal anatomy approximately 6 months after their initial exposure to the laryngeal anatomy teaching intervention.
Sixty-two students retook the test: 3-D (n = 30) and SWI (n = 32). No significant difference was noted in mean scores (P = .54) and change in scores (P = .59) between short- and long-term retention on the laryngeal anatomy test. There was a trend toward an increase in 3-D scores in both groups (P = .07) and a significant increase in 3-D scores in the 3-D group only (P = .049).
A low-fidelity model (SWI) is just as effective as a high-fidelity model (3-D) in teaching laryngeal anatomy. The acquired knowledge from either educational intervention may last up to 6 months for long-term retention. This study is one of the few in medical education to examine long-term retention.