To test the hypothesis that laypeople who learn CPR using an 8-min self-instructional DVD acquire a level of skill that is comparable to that achieved with conventional courses.


Forty volunteers used a short DVD with replay facility, and a simple inflatable training manikin, for self-instruction in basic life support. A further 40 volunteers (control group) attended a conventional 1-h instructor-led course. Skill acquisition was measured for each group.


After training, the self-instructional group achieved remarkably similar results compared with the control group for all measured skill variables except compression depth, which was significantly greater for the control group.


Very short, DVD-based, self-instructional packages may be suitable for more widespread use, including distance-learning and other circumstances in which educational opportunities and resources are limited.