Blended E-learning in a Web-based virtual hospital: a useful tool for undergraduate education in urology

M Horstmann, M Renninger, J Hennenlotter, C C Horstmann, A Stenzl
Education for Health 2009, 22 (2): 269

INTRODUCTION: E-learning is a teaching tool used successfully in many medical subspecialties. Experience with its use in urology, however, is scarce. We present our teaching experience with the INMEDEA simulator to teach urological care to medical students.

METHODS: The INMEDEA simulator is an interactive e-learning system built around a virtual hospital which includes a department of urology. It allows students to solve virtual patient cases online. In this study, students were asked to prepare two urological cases prior to discussion of the cases in small groups. This blended teaching approach was evaluated by students through anonymous questionnaires.

RESULTS: Of 70 4th year medical students 76% judged this teaching method as good or very good. Eighty-seven percent felt that it offered a good way to understand urological diseases better and 72% felt that learning with this method was fun. Nevertheless, 30 out of 70 free text statements revealed that further improvements of the program, including an easier and more comfortable navigation and a faster supply of information are necessary.

CONCLUSIONS: Virtual patient cases offer a practicable solution for teaching based on problem solving in urology with a high acceptance rate by students.

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