THULASINGAM MAHALAKSHMY; AMOL R DONGRE; GANAPATHY KALAISELVAN
Volume 1, Issue 4 , October 2013, , Pages 106-112
Introduction: In India, medical undergraduates think that statistics is difficultto understand. Often, it is taught just before final assessment examinationusing didactic lectures, ...
Introduction: In India, medical undergraduates think that statistics is difficultto understand. Often, it is taught just before final assessment examinationusing didactic lectures, with little use of medical examples and less focus onapplication. Hence, we prepared interactive, participatory sessions for teachingbiostatistics to medical undergraduate.Methods: The sessions were delivered by a facilitator. It had clearly specifiedobjectives, teaching learning strategies. A needs assessment was done byinterviewing the students who had undergone traditional biostatistics teachingmethodology. Specific learning objectives for the sessions were finalizedusing the Delphi technique and review of University syllabus. Two trainedCommunity Medicine faculties designed the lesson plans ‘backwards’ fromdesired outcome to content, teaching/learning strategies, assessment andevaluation process (Outcomes-based lesson planning). Forty, third-semester(Para-clinical phase of the second year) medical undergraduates undertookthese seven teaching sessions. The session followed adult learning principlesand included group discussions, games and reflections. We evaluated theimpact of the sessions using in-depth interviews, retrospective post-then-preself-assessment and a pre-announced written test.Results: With traditional statistics teaching methodology, students perceivedit as a standalone subject and were not interested in statistics. Studentswho underwent the sessions commented that the sessions were enjoyable,interesting, and participatory and more than %90 of them felt they wereengaged throughout the session. They also narrated various instances wherethey could apply the biostatistics learning. In the post-then-pre-assessmentmedian post-session scores for all the objectives were significantly higher(p <0.050).Conclusion: Use of interactive, participatory sessions for teaching biostatisticsto medical undergraduates resulted in a positive reaction and better learning.They also applied these concepts while reading textbooks, listening to lecturesand during clinical postings.Keywords: Biostatistics, Teaching, Medical undergraduates