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E-Learning Tool Prior to Genetic Counseling Improves Knowledge, Informed Decisions

Use of an e-learning tool prior to genetic counseling due to an abnormal Down syndrome screening result improved informed decision-making among parents, according to a new study appearing in the Journal of Genetic Counseling. Researchers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology enrolled more than 340 participants into their study and randomized them to three groups: one group watched an animated movie and another one received a booklet prior to genetic counseling and the third participated only in a conventional genetic counseling session. Each group completed questionnaires before and after counseling, which found increased knowledge among the participants who were in the animated movie group. About a third of participants in that group said that the questions they asked during counseling were informed by what they learned from the animated movie and, overall, those who watch the movie were three times more likely to make an informed choice as compared to the control group. The researchers additionally report that participants belonging to minority groups in Israel showed the highest gains in knowledge from the movie. "These results indicate that using an animated movie is teachable and efficient, and that its advantages are especially evident in minority communities with a weaker educational background, and therefore worth the attention of policy-makers," the researchers write.