Article Title

Enhancing pathology learning for medical students - via blended learning by clinicians

Abstract

Objectives: Assessing the feasibility and benefits of supplementary pathology teaching by a clinician to improve students’ understanding of the pathological process and its relationship with clinical symptoms and signs during their clinical rotations.

Design, Setting, and Participants: The Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) Course in the University of Tasmania is a 5-year undergraduate program and all disciplines of pathology are taught in years 1, 2 (pre-clinical) and 3 (clinical transition), by pathologists. Over a twelve-year period, with the application of technology, pedagogy, and content knowledge framework, a blended pathology learning program developed and delivered by a surgeon to supplement the existing pathology curriculum. Participants were medical students in year three of the MBBS course during their nine-week surgical rotations.

Intervention: Images of pathology specimens were presented online for the students to identify the organ, pathology and associate this with clinical features to arrive at a clinical diagnosis using online team discussions followed by face-to-face sessions to further explore students’ responses.

Main outcome measures: The survey used both quantitative and qualitative measures to assess students’ knowledge gain in pathology, their perceptions about critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills, and satisfaction.

Results: The results indicate that most students’, especially the weaker students, improved on their pathology knowledge over the period of the course, which helped in their development of skills in diagnosing and managing diseases with a high level of satisfaction of all students.

Conclusion: This study provides supportive evidence that overall students' pathology knowledge improved through delivery using blended learning and importantly weaker students benefitted considerably. Also, the results suggest that when students view pathology specimens online, engage in scholarly debate about them, and participate in face-to-face sessions to consolidate their learning, they gain strong inductive medical reasoning skills.

Keywords

blended learning, TPACK, pathology teaching supplement, medical education, critical thinking and clinical reasoning

Link to Publisher Version (URL)

10.15694/mep.2021.000082.1

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