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Peer Review

ABG Online Learning Activity

by Margaret Hansen


Overall Numeric Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Aug 28, 2006 by Health Sciences

The purpose of this learning resource a tutorial designed to teach the learner how to interpret arterial blood gas results. The site offers students basic concepts of interpretation and then takes them through nine specific patient case studies for practice and self-testing.

Key words:  ABG interpretation; acid-base balance; case study

Type of Material:

This learning resource can be classified as:

  • Tutorial
  • Interactive quiz
  • Case studies
Recommended Uses: Students seem to find this content difficult to grasp and this site would offer them not only content, but practice as well. The learning resource would be useful to nursing students, respiratory therapy students, students taking critical care content, and students taking a course in human physiology. The learning resource could be used in class as a small group activity or as a homework assignment.
Technical Requirements: The user needs to have a computer connected to the Internet and a web browser. There are no special technical requirements for use of the material. The content is easily navigated using the content frames or the navigation bar on the page. The page opens quickly and all the links appeared to be intact and appropriate.
Identify Major Learning Goals: After viewing this presentation when analyzing arterial
blood gas results the learner should be able to:

  • Determine the acid/base balance for the patient.

  • Determine if the patient's primary problem might be metabolic or
    respiratory in origin.

  • Determine whether or not the patient body is compensating for an
    acid/base imbalance.
Target Student Population:

The target student population could include any healthcare pre-professional studying respiratory anatomy & physiology or pathophysiology, for example:

  • Nursing students
  • Medical students
  • Respiratory therapy students
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:

Prerequisite knowledge and skills include:

  • The ability to use a computer connected to the Internet
  • Basic physiology of respiration
  • Rationale for obtaining an arterial blood gas (ABG) result.
  • An understanding of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and bicarbonate
  • Common medical conditions associated with an acid/base imbalance.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars

The strengths of this learning module are:

  • This site breaks down a difficult concept and skill into simple language.
  • The concepts are explained clearly in an engaging and conversational tone so that learners may get the sense that there is an individual explaining the content just for  them.
  • The self testing is very useful to learners as it offers well developed rationales for both correct and incorrect responses on the case studies.
  • Learners can easily navigate back to content or repeat case studies until they are comfortable with the concepts.

No significant concerns.  The author might consider an addendum which refers to more complex information about ABG interpretation. This tutorial focuses on acid/base issues and not oxygenation issues.  The level of knowledge needed to utilize the site effectively is fairly high level. Students without some knowledge of ABGs could be frustrated and find the content very difficult.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: The learning objectives are implied, but not explicitly stated.
Prerequisite knowledge is also implied.

  •  The concepts of arterial blood gas interpretation are
    reinforced progressively. 

  • Arterial blood gas interpretation is done systematically using a
    three-step process. 

  • The case studies are interactive and provide rationales for
    correct and incorrect answers.

  • The material is flexible for use in teaching learning
    materials.  It can be used to reinforce textbook information,
    supplement classroom lecture, small group discussions, and as
    reference material for additional case study learning activities.
Concerns: The teaching effectiveness of the tutorial would be enhanced with the addition of stated learning objectives and a statement about the prerequisite knowledge. Prerequisite knowledge of respiratory physiology should be a minimal requirement.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
  • The site is easy to use. The site is designed to be easily
    accessed and navigated. 

  • Color and white space is used in the page design to reinforce
    important concepts. 

  • The layout is logical and allows for repeating the content
    and/or case studies.

  • Concerns: Faculty should evaluate the level of student knowledge before assigning this content to avoid frustrating the student.

    Other Issues and Comments: This site is a wonderful resource for faculty and students. It is a well
    designed and attractive site that makes the content seem less difficult.