Basic Life Support (BLS) is a life-saving and fundamental skill in resuscitation. However, studies have reported limitations in BLS training outcomes for both health professional and lay populations, and noted the resource and time-intensive nature of traditional training approaches.This exploratory study evaluated the effectiveness of an interactive CD-based BLS training programme that included unsupervised manikin practice compared with a traditional instructor-led BLS training programme involving demonstration and supervised practice.A quasi-experimental post-test with follow-up design was used. The sample was comprised of two cohorts: Novice second-year undergraduate Nursing students (n=187) and Practising Nurses (n=107) in their first year of hospital employment. BLS skill outcomes were assessed at one week and again at eight weeks post training.No statistically significant differences were found between the CD and traditional instructor-led BLS training methods in BLS skills of Novice and Practising Nurses at one week and eight weeks post training. However, there was a decrement in skill between one week and eight weeks post-training across both groups and an overall low level of competence.The failure to find a difference between the CD-based BLS programme with unsupervised manikin practice and a resource-intensive traditional instructor-led BLS training programme may indicate equivalence of the programmes or, even study design limitations. It is concerning that competence displayed by trainees from both groups was less than optimal and suggests the need for renewed efforts to develop and evaluate BLS training programmes which can achieve high rates of competence with acceptable skill retention over time.