The Student Training, Education and Practice for Dietetics (STEP-DIET) CD-ROM was developed at the University of Surrey to prepare dietetic students for the practical dietetic training component of their Nutrition/Dietetics degree. This study aimed to evaluate student response to the programme and its effectiveness as a teaching tool, based on the evaluation framework of D.L. Kirkpatrick (Evaluating a Course, 2nd edn. London, Kogan Page). Quantitative and qualitative methodologies were employed, with 41 dietetic students, separated by year group, completing questionnaires and taking part in six focus groups, at the University of Surrey. Student attitudes towards the instruction method and the STEP-DIET programme itself were investigated, in conjunction with their perceived learning achievements.
Students rated the programme highly in terms of design and content, however, there was a reluctance to accept computer-assisted instruction (CAI) as a sole teaching method. A number of learning achievements relevant to dietetic practice were reported including a perceived increase in ability to conduct a dietetic interview and an increased understanding of the management of Type 2 diabetes. In general students reacted positively to the STEP-DIET programme and it was perceived by students to be effective in preparing them for the practical component of their dietetic training.