An evaluation of teaching methods utilized during an HIV miniresidency course for Thai physicians

S C Zell
AIDS Education and Prevention: Official Publication of the International Society for AIDS Education 1997, 9 (1): 70-82
This study examines the efficacy of medical education methods in improving the knowledge base and clinical skills of participants attending a 2-day miniresidency course in HIV infection. Instructional methods included: a didactic lecture format, diagnostic algorithm presentation, color slide photographic demonstration, bedside teaching rounds, and "meet-the-professor" sessions. Questions to assess the various instructional formats were administered and teaching methods were evaluated. Fifty-seven Thai physicians, highly exposed to HIV patient care duties, completed both precourse and postcourse tests. Overall, significant improvement was noted in participant's final global test score. However, discrepancies existed among the efficacy of instructional methods. Recognizing physical signs of HIV infection, as taught by slide photographs, revealed a high baseline level of expertise. Statistically significant postcourse gains were made in physician's diagnostic decision-making ability and basic knowledge of HIV and AIDS taught respectively by the methods of a teaching algorithm and didactic lecture. Despite the latter, participation performed poorly regarding HIV case management. This observation may be related to test design and cultural differences but likely underscores the difficulty in imparting clinical HIV management skills to course participants over a short period of time. Future continuing medical education (CME) courses intended to enhance physician care for the HIV infected must strive to refine evaluation methods for assessing case management skills while exploring innovative instructional techniques when current methods are ineffective.

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