Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Effect of a Computer-based Multimedia Educational Module on Knowledge of the Menstrual Cycle

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Judith May


The menstrual cycle is an intricate web of hormonal interactions within the female anatomy impacting a woman’s fertility, health, and sense of wellbeing and is considered the “fifth vital sign” (Halpin, 2006). Although an understanding of the menstrual cycle is fundamental to a woman’s awareness of her reproductive health, many seek healthcare without this basic knowledge. A woman needs to understand her cycle, be aware if it is not following the normal course and seek an opportunity to discuss her menstrual experience with her care provider. However, time constraints exist in the provision of patient education in our current healthcare delivery system. A review of the literature revealed that computer-based education has been shown to have advantages in the delivery of information. However, no studies were found regarding the use of computer-based education for teaching the menstrual cycle. The purpose of the study was to examine the effect of a computer-based, multimedia, educational module on the level of knowledge of the menstrual cycle when compared to a written information module and a PowerPoint module. It was intended to test a patient education tool on the menstrual cycle that would engage women in healthcare decision-making. The study was framed within Starratt’s 1991 model of the ethics of critique, justice, and care. Seventy-two college-aged, undergraduate students at a Midwestern university participated in the study which involved a pretest, an intervention, and a posttest experience. The students were randomly assigned to a computer-based multimedia educational module (C-bmem), a written information module (IM), or a PowerPoint (PP) module intervention groups. The interventions were similar in content and varied only in the manner of presentation with the C-bmem including animation and narration. The hypotheses were: (1) There will be significant group differences in change in knowledge about the menstrual cycle in women who participate in the C-bmem relative to the IM and PP; and (2) There will be a significant difference in the knowledge gained on the menstrual cycle between pretest and posttest for women in each treatment group. The pretest results showed that knowledge of the menstrual cycle among the sample of women was minimal with the mean being less than 50%. Results showed there were no significant differences for hypothesis 1. However, there was statistical significance for hypothesis 2 in knowledge gained by all women in the treatment groups. Sixty-six of 70 respondents stated they would “most definitely” or “probably” use the information learned in the future. The value women placed on the experience and the fact that there was significant improvement in knowledge, coupled with the documented need for informed patients, supports the importance of providing women with education on the menstrual cycle. By teaching women about the menstrual cycle at their point of contact, i.e. the care provider’s office, women would be able to build on their existing knowledge thus facilitating informed decision-making.