Holt RI, Miklaszewicz P, Cranston IC, Russell-Jones D, Rees PJ, Sonksen PH. Computer assisted learning is an effective way of teaching endocrinology. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 2001;55(4):537-542

PMID: 11678838


Computers are a part of everyday life and offer an exciting way of learning. The aim of our study was to determine the effectiveness of teaching undergraduate endocrinology using a Computer Assisted Learning (CAL) programme.
One hundred and eighty-five first year clinical medical students were randomly assigned either to attend a series of conventional lectures (n = 77) or to have the same material available through a CAL programme.
A multiple choice question examination was performed before and after the course. Lecture attendance and individual usage of the computer system were recorded. Students were asked to fill in an evaluation form at the end of the study.
There was no significant difference in the first examination scores between the groups. Both groups improved their scores after the course. Students spent longer performing CAL than attending lectures. Those who scored lowest in the first examination spent the most time on the CAL course. Those who spent the most time on the CAL course showed the largest improvement in examination score. Thirty-six out of the 42 students, who completed an evaluation of the CAL programme, rated it better than the standard lectures.
Computer assisted learning is an effective way of increasing knowledge in teaching undergraduate endocrinology. The course was easy to run and was valued more highly than conventional lectures. The module is now running routinely in the year 3 clinical firms at St Thomas' and has resulted in an increase in knowledge in the end of firm assessment.