Journal Article
. 2019 Jul; 29(3):803-817.
doi: 10.1007/s40670-019-00759-5.

Overcoming Barriers in a Traditional Medical Education System by the Stepwise, Evidence-Based Introduction of a Modern Learning Technology

Doris George Yohannan 1 Aswathy Maria Oommen 1 Kannanvilakom Govindapillai Umesan 1 Vandana Latha Raveendran 1 Latha Sreedhar Lakshmi Sreedhar 1 Thekkumkara Surendran Nair Anish 2 Michael Hortsch 3 Renuka Krishnapillai 1 
  • PMID: 34457545
  •     44 References


Introduction: Histology teaching in India and in other developing countries has not changed much over the past decades and has not joined the global movement of using virtual microscopy (VM). Many factors may have contributed to this academic inertia-including curricular requirements for traditional microscopy (TM) skills, assessments that are heavily based on TM, and unfamiliarity with modern technology among faculty, as well as infrastructural shortcomings. This study is aimed at overcoming these roadblocks by using a blended approach combining VM with TM in a tradition-centered curricular setting.

Methods: For validation of this approach, the authors conducted a non-randomized controlled trial with a crossover design on first year medical students at the Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, India. Examination scores and responses of a student group taught with VM as an adjunct to TM were compared with a student group taught with TM only.

Results: The test group had significantly better results when compared to the control group for knowledge-based tests (p = 0.012; analysis of co-variance) and for an unannounced visual-based test conducted 1 month later (p = 0.001; Mann-Whitney U test). Feedback collected from students showed highly favorable responses to the use of VM for teaching histology.

Conclusion: This study should encourage Indian medical colleges and schools in other developing countries to start using VM as a supplementary approach for their histology education programs. Furthermore, as the Medical Council of India recommends the introduction of new competency-based integrated curriculum in India starting in 2019, the use of VM may facilitate more effective learning in the new scenario.

Trial Registration: CTRI/2018/04/012928.

Keywords: Competency-based medical education; Histology education; Indian medical education; Low- and middle-income countries; Technology-enhanced learning; Virtual microscopy.

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