Description and evaluation of an innovative course on learning and study skills for the first year medical students

Halil Ibrahim Durak, Sila Elif Törün, Abdullah Sayiner, Gülsen Kandiloglu
Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine 2006, 210 (3): 231-7
The purpose of this study is to share educational structure and evaluation results of an innovative course on effective learning and study skills for the first year medical students. In Turkey, undergraduate medical education takes six years and each year nearly 5,000 high school graduates start medical schools. However, many students experience frustration and failure because of their lack in the learning and studying strategies. At the Ege University Faculty of Medicine, preclinical curriculum consists of the body function systems-based teaching blocks. Year one has three blocks. We implemented an effective learning and study skills course at the first and third blocks of the 2003-2004 curriculum. We evaluated the course by students' feedbacks derived from block questionnaires and students' homework performance analysis. At the first block questionnaire, out of 297, 163 students (54.8%) clearly stated that the course positively influenced their learning process. Structured analysis of the first block's students' homework showed that an average of 206 students (69.3%) can sufficiently describe their learning and studying approach, while 218 (73.4%) can identify the strengths and weaknesses of the curriculum. The average student scores were 74 +/- 10 and 68 +/- 11 out of 100 for first and third blocks, respectively. We interpreted these results as students enjoyed the course and learned the content. In conclusion, a course on effective learning and study skills is likely to assist first year medical students in improving their learning and adaptation to the school.

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