A needs-based study and examination skills course improves students' performance

Department of Medicine, Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Medical Education (Impact Factor: 3.2). 06/2003; 37(5):424-8. DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2923.2003.01499.x
Source: PubMed


Adult learning theory suggests that learning is most effective when related to need, when driven by the learner and when it is flexible. We describe the effect of an educational intervention that was driven by student need, and largely designed by students.
We undertook a needs assessment of fifth year medical students' study needs. Based on this, we helped them design a course to meet these needs. This was predominantly related to study skills and a practice objective structured clinical examination (OSCE). We evaluated the course by asking for student opinion and by measuring the effect on student performance in a high stakes medical school examination (written examination and OSCE).
Despite the course being run voluntarily and in after-hours sessions, 80-90% of the medical student class attended each session. Student performance on the end of year examinations was significantly enhanced in the year of the intervention, compared with previous years and with students from other schools sitting identical examinations in the same year.
Learning activities that are directly based on student needs, that focus on study and examination techniques, and that are largely student-driven, result in effective and valuable outcomes.

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    • "In terms of study population, freshman17 or preuniversity students18 were enrolled in most of the surveys like our study. Such interventions are planned as study aid programs by means of needs assessment for higher year students,19 unsuccessful or at risk students8 and even higher levels of education such as residency programs.20 Various topics including interpersonal communication skills, friends finding, presentation skills, evaluation principles and strategies, self-directed lifelong learning, personal and professional development, confidence growing, strengthening mechanisms of memory, critical thinking, problem solving, etc. are presented according to various stages of academic career and student demands.18–20 "
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    ABSTRACT: It has been demonstrated that educational programs that focus on study skills could improve learning strategies and academic success of university students. Due to the important role of such supportive programs aimed at the fresh students, this survey was carried out to investigate the effectiveness of an optional course of learning and study skills on learning and study skills of second year medical students. This quasi-experimental research was performed on 32 eligible medical students in Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, who chose the optional course of learning and study skills. Both of intervention and control groups completed Learning and Study Strategies Inventory (LASSI) at the beginning and the end of semester. Students in the intervention group studied different components of reading and learning skills using team working. Their final scores were calculated based on written reports on application of study skills in exams (portfolio), self-evaluation form and their progress in LASSI test. The mean differences of scores before and after intervention in each of ten test scales were compared between two groups. The results showed that the mean difference scores in attitude, time management, information processing, main ideas selection, study aids and self-testing scales were significantly higher in the intervention group (p < 0.05 for all). This optional course successfully improved learning strategies in the corresponding classroom activities. However, there was no improvement in the motivational scale which is tightly related to the educational success. Therefore, the implementation of educational programs with an emphasis on meta-cognitional aspects of learning is recommended.
    Journal of research in medical sciences 03/2011; 16(3):346-52. · 0.65 Impact Factor
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    Medical Education 09/2002; 36(8):790. DOI:10.1046/j.1365-2923.2002.01264_2.x · 3.20 Impact Factor
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