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  1. Dougal, Jenny MSN, RN,C, FNP
  2. Gonterman, Rae MSN, RN,C, FNP


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of the teaching method used with cognitive learning and learning retention outcomes of nurses when instructed in Imogene King's Theory of Goal Attainment.


This study's quantitative, quasi-experimental design examined relationships and/or differences between variables or groups. Cognitive learning and learning retention outcomes were measured by pre-, post- and 1-week posttests.


Statistically significant learning took place in all three methods. However, no statistically significant difference was found between teaching method used and cognitive learning or retention. The information gained from this study may provide a stepping stone for enhanced education in the orientation phase of employment, and will provide the impetus for further study.


Today's nursing educators are faced with the challenge of determining how to present the necessary information during new employee orientation in order to facilitate the greatest amount of learning and promote retention. Nursing orientation programs for new employees are generally focused on the policies and procedures that specifically relate to the employing institution. Additionally, many orientation groups are comprised of individuals with varying levels of educational preparation, years of experience, and relevant expertise. Educators are being asked to produce high quality, cost-effective learning opportunities for nurses (Grant, 1993; Prociuk, 1990). Evaluation of these programs, as they relate to learning and retention, is a complex task. These quality measurements must be undertaken in order to determine the effectiveness of the methods used. Nursing education departments have traditionally used lecture-discussion methods as the primary mechanism for presenting information (Vallerand, 1988). In an effort to meet nursing unit needs in a shorter amount of time, and as cost-effectively as possible, there has been a recent increase in the use of various self-directed learning activities (Lamb & Henderson, 1993). Nursing educators are also using a variety of audio-visual methods to create new learning opportunities (Roberts & Thurston, 1984).