In the health sciences, a wide range of computer‐based courseware is now available. The aim of the study described in this paper has been to compare the effectiveness of a computer‐based learning (CBL) software package and a traditional lecture (TL) for the delivery, of introductory material on pain. Nineteen undergraduate nursing students were divided into two groups to attend a one‐hour learning session which introduced clinical aspects of pain and which was delivered by either CBL or TL. Students were assessed for prior knowledge by a pre‐session test, and for knowledge gain by an identical post‐session test. In addition, a multiple‐choice question paper was used to examine differences in pain knowledge between the two groups, and a questionnaire was used to examine the students’ views on their experience during the learning session. The results demonstrated that both groups showed significant knowledge gain after their respective learning sessions. No significant differences between the groups in the magnitude of knowledge gain were found for clinical aspects of pain delivered during the learning sessions. The attitude questionnaire revealed that students attending CBL reported similar learning experiences to those attending the lecture
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