Objective: To develop an interactive web-based e-learning tool for drug abuse prevention. Methods: A multimedia interactive computer model, "The Virtual Drug Abuse Scenasio Simulation (VDASS) Model", was developed with the aid of experts in drug abuse. The model is accessed via the internet and simulates different outcomes in response to different choices made by the user. The responses are designed to teach users about and enable them to 'experience' the effects of drug abuse. In addition the model enables users to role play in different scenarios that help them learn effective methods of refusing drugs. The effectiveness of the model as a teaching tool was evaluated by medical students who had to answer a quiz after 30 minutes learning on the model. Their results were compared with 2 other groups of medical students - 1 group who answered the quiz after 30 minutes studying written material on drug abuse, and the other who answered the quiz without any preparation. All groups of students were also given another unannounced quiz, 1 week later. Results: Students who answered the quiz after using VDASS scored significantly higher marks than students who answered the quiz without any preparation, both in the initial quiz and the quiz 1 week later. There was however no significant difference for either quiz result between the VDASS groups of students and students who studied the written material. Conclusion: VDASS is effective for teaching people about drug abuse, but has not been demonstrated to be superior to paper-based learning. Although this may be because there is no actual difference in the 2 learning techniques, another possible explanation is that the study design was not appropriate to demonstrate the superiority of VDASS as a learning tool. The tool has the potential to reduce drug.abuse in night clubs, but this and any advantages it has a learning tool remain to be proven.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-48
Number of pages11
JournalJournal on Information Technology in Healthcare
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications


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