INTRODUCTION: Video animations are increasingly available in education but without systematic evaluation. This review aimed to collate trials of animations versus other delivery, in student or qualified healthcare practitioners.
METHODS: Included studies had the following features: controlled design with random or quasi-random allocation; student or qualified healthcare practitioners; comparing video animation with another format (e.g. textbook, lecture, static images); animation delivered instead of, or in addition to, another format. The primary outcome was knowledge; secondary outcomes were attitudes and cognitions, and behaviours. Multiple databases were searched from 1996-October 2022 using a defined strategy. We also undertook citation searching. Dual, independent decision-making was used for inclusion assessment, data extraction, and quality appraisal. Included studies were appraised using the Cochrane ROB2 tool. Findings were reported using narrative synthesis.
RESULTS: We included 13 studies: 11 recruited student practitioners, two recruited qualified practitioners, total n = 1068. Studies evaluated cartoon animations or 2D/3D animations. Knowledge was assessed in ten studies, showing greater knowledge from animations in eight studies. Attitudes and cognitions were assessed in five studies; animations resulted in positive outcomes in three studies, no difference in one study, and worse outcomes in one study. Behaviours were assessed in three studies, animations producing positive outcomes in two studies and there was no difference in one study. Overall risk of bias was 'high' in ten studies and 'some concerns' in three.
DISCUSSION: Overall the evidence base is small with mostly 'high' risk of bias. Video animations show promise in practitioner education, particularly for effects on knowledge, but bigger, better research is needed.