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Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology

Open Access

Online anaphylaxis training for schools is effective and feasible

  • Anthony J Levinson1Email author,
  • Lisa Colizza1,
  • Michael Hauptman2,
  • Laurie Harada3,
  • Susan Waserman4 and
  • Sarah Garside1
Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology20106(Suppl 2):P5

Published: 4 November 2010


Training ProgramInstructional DesignExpert ConsensusSchool PersonnelPosttest Score


In this study, we tested the effectiveness of an online training program about the recognition, management, and prevention of anaphylaxis in the school setting.

Materials and methods

The study was conducted in Alberta between November 2009 and January 2010. 105 elementary and secondary school teachers, school administrators, educational assistants, custodial staff, and volunteers participated in the study.

The training program was approximately 1-hour in duration and covered knowledge of anaphylaxis, skills of how to use an auto-injector, and prevention strategies based on the latest expert consensus guidelines. [1] The multimedia program had a high degree of interactivity and used evidence-based instructional design. [2] Using a pretest-intervention-posttest design, knowledge and skills were assessed with 11 graded items on the pretest and 9 graded items on the posttest that were validated through expert consensus and pilot testing. Participant confidence was also measured. Data were analyzed using repeated measures ANOVA.


Of the 105 participants that enrolled in the program, complete data was available for 74 participants. There was a significant improvement in knowledge F(1,66)=27.7, p<0.001 with the mean pretest score of 51.1%; and mean posttest score of 78.2%; giving a large effect size for the intervention of 1.7. Participant confidence to use an auto-injector in an emergency rose dramatically following the program, and learners were very satisfied with the program.


Our Internet-based training program on anaphylaxis is a highly effective training program for school personnel. Further research on optimal implementation strategies and longitudinal follow-up of knowledge, skills and attitudes is required.



This research was supported by AllerGen NCE Inc. The program was developed by Anaphylaxis Canada, the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and Leap Learning Technologies Inc., with additional support from the Government of Alberta and the Division of e-Learning Innovation at McMaster University.

Authors’ Affiliations

Division of e-Learning Innovation, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
Evergreen Catholic School Division, Alberta Ed, Spruce Grove, Canada
Anaphylaxis Canada, Toronto, Canada
Division of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada


  1. Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: Anaphylaxis in Schools & Other Settings. 2009, Ottawa: CSACI, 2 ndGoogle Scholar
  2. Cook DA, Levinson AJ, Garside S, Dupras DM, Erwin PJ, Montori VM: Internet-Based Learning in the Health Professions: A Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2008, 300: 1181-1196. 10.1001/jama.300.10.1181.View ArticlePubMedGoogle Scholar


© Levinson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd.