Effectiveness of blended learning in pharmacy education: A systematic review and metaanalysis

Athira Balakrishnan, Sandra Puthean, Gautam Satheesh, M. K. Unnikrishnan, Muhammed Rashid, Sreedharan Nair, Girish Thunga

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background & objective Though blended learning (BL), is widely adopted in higher education, evaluating effectiveness of BL is difficult because the components of BL can be extremely heterogeneous. Purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of BL in improving knowledge and skill in pharmacy education. Methods PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus and the Cochrane Library were searched to identify published literature. The retrieved studies from databases were screened for its title and abstracts followed by the full-text in accordance with the pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria. Methodological quality was appraised by modified Ottawa scale. Random effect model used for statistical modelling. Key findings A total of 26 studies were included for systematic review. Out of which 20 studies with 4525 participants for meta-analysis which employed traditional teaching in control group. Results showed a statistically significant positive effect size on knowledge (standardized mean difference [SMD]: 1.35, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.91 to 1.78, p<0.00001) and skill (SMD: 0.68; 95% CI: 0.19 to 1.16; p = 0.006) using a random effect model. Subgroup analysis of cohort studies showed, studies from developed countries had a larger effect size (SMD: 1.54, 95% CI: 1.01 to 2.06), than studies from developing countries(SMD: 0.44, 95% CI: 0.23 to 0.65, studies with MCQ pattern as outcome assessment had larger effect size (SMD: 2.81, 95% CI: 1.76 to 3.85) than non-MCQs (SMD 0.53, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.74), and BL with case studies (SMD 2.72, 95% CI 1.86-3.59) showed better effect size than noncase- based studies (SMD: 0.22, CI: 0.02 to 0.41). Conclusion BL is associated with better academic performance and achievement than didactic teaching in pharmacy education.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0252461
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6 June
Publication statusPublished - 06-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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