Development of an interactive learning tool for teaching rheumatology—a simulated clinical case studies program

A S Wilson, J E Goodall, G Ambrosini, D M Carruthers, H Chan, S G Ong, C Gordon, S P Young
Rheumatology 2006, 45 (9): 1158-61

OBJECTIVES: To promote independent self-study involving problem solving and decision analysis in the undergraduate medical curriculum, we have developed a series of interactive web-based clinical case studies.

METHODS: An initial needs assessment was performed to determine students' attitudes to e-learning. From these results we designed a series of 30 interactive case studies for delivery from a web-server.

RESULTS: A survey of 59 undergraduate students believed that online teaching resources were a useful supplement to existing teaching and they could see a positive use for e-learning. The interactive case studies program was well received by a broad range of respondents (n = 84) of different abilities and backgrounds who felt that the program was realistic and clearly presented in an intuitive manner.

CONCLUSIONS: The recent increases in numbers of medical undergraduates, the trend towards student-centred learning and the emphasis on patient-related teaching means a great pressure on teachers and resources in medical schools. The case studies program we have developed was effective and well received by both biomedical and medical students. This approach may provide a way to increase the exposure of students to clinical cases involving interactive diagnostic and treatment procedures, that mimic real-world scenarios, but with fewer resource implications.

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