ABSTRACT: This study aimed to compare the effects of computer-assisted, text-based and computer-and-text learning conditions on the performances of 3 groups of medical students in the pre-clinical years of their programme, taking into account their academic achievement to date. A fourth group of students served as a control (no-study) group.
Participants were recruited from the pre-clinical years of the training programmes in 2 medical schools in Japan, Jichi Medical School near Tokyo and Kochi Medical School near Osaka. Participants were randomly assigned to 4 learning conditions and tested before and after the study on their knowledge of and skill in performing an abdominal examination, in a multiple-choice test and an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), respectively. Information about performance in the programme was collected from school records and students were classified as average, good or excellent. Student and faculty evaluations of their experience in the study were explored by means of a short evaluation survey.
Compared to the control group, all 3 study groups exhibited significant gains in performance on knowledge and performance measures. For the knowledge measure, the gains of the computer-assisted and computer-assisted plus text-based learning groups were significantly greater than the gains of the text-based learning group. The performances of the 3 groups did not differ on the OSCE measure. Analyses of gains by performance level revealed that high achieving students' learning was independent of study method. Lower achieving students performed better after using computer-based learning methods.
The results suggest that computer-assisted learning methods will be of greater help to students who do not find the traditional methods effective. Explorations of the factors behind this are a matter for future research.
Medical Education 11/2004; 38(10):1080-8. · 3.18 Impact Factor