Effect Evaluation of a Web-Based Coaching Intervention to Support Implementation of Sex Education Among Secondary School Teachers: Randomized Controlled Trial

Lisette Schutte*, Fraukje E F Mevissen, Suzanne Meijer, Theo Paulussen, Pepijn van Empelen, Gerjo Kok

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The quality of implementation is important to ensure the effectiveness of behavioral change interventions in practice. Implementing such programs with completeness and adherence is not an automatic process and may require additional support. In school settings, the support teachers receive during implementation is often limited and appears to fall short when attempting to preserve completeness and adherence in program delivery. With the aim to improve completeness and adherence of teachers' delivery of a sexual health promoting intervention ("Long Live Love" [LLL]) in secondary education, a Web-based e-coach was developed ("lesgevenindeliefde.nl"or"teachinglove.nl"). The effectiveness of the e-coach, as part of a broader implementation strategy, in influencing teachers' implementation was evaluated.

OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to report on the effect evaluation to determine the effect of the Web-based e-coach on teacher implementation of a school-based sex education program called LLL and on its determinants.

METHODS: A cluster randomized controlled trial (e-coaching vs waiting list control) was conducted with a baseline assessment (T0) and follow-up (T1) 2 weeks after completing the LLL program. A total of 43 schools with 83 teachers participated in the study. In the follow-up, 38 schools participated, 23 in the e-coaching condition with 41 teachers and 15 in the control condition with 26 teachers. Multilevel regression analysis was used to evaluate the effect of the e-coaching website on implementation behavior, namely, completeness and adherence to LLL implementation, and on its determinants.

RESULTS: The e-coaching intervention was not found to have an effect on teachers' implementation behavior; teachers assigned to the experimental e-coaching website did not score higher on completeness (P=.60) or adherence (P=.67) as compared with teachers in the control condition. When comparing the 30 teachers who made actual use of the e-coaching website with the 37 teachers who did not, no significant differences were found either (P≥.54). In addition, there was no effect of e-coaching on the determinants of teacher implementation behavior (t 67-75≤0.69; P≥.22).

CONCLUSIONS: E-coaching was not found to be effective in enhancing completeness of and adherence to LLL by teachers. The lack of effect may be attributed to the intervention content, the limited use, or the study design itself. The e-coaching intervention may not have adequately addressed adherence and completeness of LLL to bring about behavioral change. Furthermore, the e-coaching intervention was not or insufficiently used by teachers. A possible biased sample of motivated, able teachers may have agreed to participate in the study, and a possible "ceiling effect" may have been present because of the high implementation grade. This, however, does not imply that Web-based coaching in itself is an ineffective strategy to promote adherence and completeness of program implementation. A process evaluation is required as follow-up.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number ISRCTN11754581; http://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN11754581 (Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/70C5TUOOh).

Original languageEnglish
Article number96
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018


  • Journal Article
  • secondary schools
  • randomized controlled trial
  • sex education
  • coaching

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