Evaluating Effectiveness of Online Learning Modules in Pediatric Environmental Health Education



Content and training about pediatric environmental health are lacking in healthcare professionals’ education. In an initiative to improve pediatric environmental health education, the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) program offers free, interactive, web-based (“eLearning”) modules on environmental health topics. The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of PEHSU eLearning modules in increasing knowledge about pediatric and reproductive environmental health.


This is a retrospective analysis of 994 users who had completed at least one of the 12 PEHSU eLearning modules and its associated pre-test and post-test scores between March 2016 and November 2018. Users who completed modules between March 2016 and April 2018 received a 6-month follow-up survey to assess the impact of the knowledge gained on their clinical practice.


A wide range of clinical professionals and nonclinical professionals utilized and completed the PEHSU eLearning modules. For all users, post-test scores were significantly higher than pre-test scores, with an increase of 30.55% ± 22.37 (paired t-test, p < 0.0001), after completion of eLearning modules.


PEHSU eLearning modules are effective at increasing environmental health knowledge of clinical and nonclinical professionals. Further studies are needed to determine long-term knowledge retention and clinical impact.

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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports the PEHSU by providing partial funding to ATSDR under Inter-Agency Agreement number DW-75-95877701. Neither EPA nor ATSDR endorse the purchase of any commercial products or services mentioned in PEHSU publications.

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Correspondence to Timur S. Durrani.

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Wong, K.H., Allen, A. & Durrani, T.S. Evaluating Effectiveness of Online Learning Modules in Pediatric Environmental Health Education. J. Med. Toxicol. 16, 269–275 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13181-019-00746-7

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  • Web-based instruction
  • Medical education research
  • Pediatric environmental health
  • eLearning
  • Reproductive health
  • Continuing medical education