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Effectiveness study of an online anaphylaxis training program for school personnel: overview of methods for a pilot study in a large Canadian school board


All school personnel in Ontario need to be trained to recognize anaphylaxis, manage an anaphylactic reaction including the administration of an epinephrine auto-injector, and be aware of risk reduction strategies in their school. Training capacity is limited and costly; an online training program offers a potentially efficient, effective and cost-effective model for human resource training.


To determine if an online anaphylaxis training program is effective for improving school personnel’s knowledge of anaphylaxis and required skills to recognize and respond to an anaphylactic reaction.


Setting and Participants: A sample of volunteer personnel using the Toronto District School Board’s learning management system representing the key roles/positions employed within the Board. 72 participants will be recruited, comprised of 60 school-based staff (20 secondary school staff, 40 elementary school staff) and 12 administrative staff (e.g. vice-principals). Design: Prospective pretest/immediate post-test/delayed post-test educational research effectiveness study. Intervention: A 45 minute online training program on anaphylaxis, based on the second edition of the handbook, Anaphylaxis in Schools and Other Settings (2005-2009, CSACI) and training materials from Anaphylaxis Canada, and adapted for e-learning using best practices in multimedia training. Primary Outcomes: In addition to self-report of learning satisfaction and self-efficacy, knowledge acquisition and retention will be assessed via pretest, immediate post-test, and delayed post-test. Skills to recognize an anaphylactic reaction and administer an epinephrine auto-injector will be assessed by scenario-based questions and tasks. Utilization and completion rates of the program, as well as time on task, will be measured by the Learning Management System. Analysis: Repeated measures ANCOVA will be performed with co-variates of time on task, and pretest score to control for prior knowledge.


If effective, online training may become an important strategy for widespread education on anaphylaxis in schools and other environments.

Project partners

Rita Simmons and Elaine Dimeglio, Toronto District School Board

Study sponsor

AllerGen NCE Inc.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Levinson, A., Colizza, L., Harada, L. et al. Effectiveness study of an online anaphylaxis training program for school personnel: overview of methods for a pilot study in a large Canadian school board. All Asth Clin Immun 6 (Suppl 1), P12 (2010).

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  • Anaphylactic Reaction
  • School Staff
  • Effectiveness Study
  • School Personnel
  • Learn Management System