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Development of an E-learning module and evaluation of this method of teaching to supplement traditional education in Pathology

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DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/seajme.v14i1.237
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South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education
72
Vol. 14, no. 1, 2020
Short Communication
Development of an E-learning Module and Evaluation of
this Method of Teaching to Supplement Traditional
Education in Pathology
Rathod, G.1 & Parmar, P.2
Abstract
Background: E-learning has been introduced as a tool in thE-learning process in the majority of the
international universities worldwide. Present study was done to develop and evaluate E-learning
module to supplement traditional education in Pathology.
Methods: A standardized E-learning module in Pathology was developed and validated on one must
know topic (Peripheral blood smear examination). All 2nd M.B.B.S. students (5th Semester) were
subjected to a pre-test questionnaire, the E-learning module and a post-test questionnaire followed by
feedback after obtaining their informed written consent. Feedback and suggestions given by the
students were analysed.
Results: Out of 145 participants, 98 were male and 47 were female. There was no statistically significant
difference between perceptions of male and female participants. Comparison of pre and post test scores
of students was done using Wilcoxon’s sign rank test. Students scored significantly more in post-test.
Only 3% scored less in post-test and 5% had similar pre- and post-test scores. Frequency and median
score of various parameters of feedback given by students showed positive perceptions.
Conclusion: The students’ feedback showed that the E-learning method was a very effective way of
teaching. In future E-learning should be implemented more frequently in Medical Education, which will
create new and exciting opportunities for both educational institutions and students.
Key words: E-learning, Pathology, Evaluation, Traditional education
Introduction
A learning activity can be defined as an
interaction between a learner and an
environment, leading to a planned outcome.
There are many types of learning methods and
theories but E-learning is developing very fast.
E-learning as teaching method has been
introduced as a tool in thE-learning process in
the majority of the international universities
worldwide.
1Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, GMERS
Medical College, Sola, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
2Professor and Head, Department of Forensic Medicine,
GMERS Medical College, Vadnagar, Gujarat, India
Corresponding Author: Professor Pragnesh Parmar
Department of Forensic Medicine, GMERS Medical
College, Vadnagar, Gujarat, India
Email: drprag@gmail.com
It is extremely important for medical students
and physicians to have the appropriate level of
skills and knowledge to practice medicine as
they are responsible for human lives. Using E-
learning to train medical students and
physicians is a faster and cheaper method to
provide instruction. E-learning could also be
used to help improve learners’ retention by
employing various types of content. It is said to
improve retention by incorporating many
elements such as quizzes, audios, videos, and
interactions among others to reinforce the
message to the learners. E-learning provides
immediate feedback, and encourages
interaction with other e-learners and e-
instructors by using features such as chat room,
discussion boards, and email among others
(Cantoni et al., 2004). Both educators and
learners can benefit from the development of a
good E-learning course. Although the term E-
E-learning Supplementing Traditional Education in Pathology
73
South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education
Vol. 14, no. 1, 2020
learning and tools have existed for over a
decade, use is often limited. So the aim and
objectives of the present study were;
To develop an E-learning module and
evaluation of this method of teaching to
supplement the traditional education in
Pathology.
To study students’ perceptions regarding
E-learning as a method of teaching.
Methods
The present study was conducted at GMERS
Medical College, Valsad, Gujarat and the study
population was 2nd M.B.B.S. students (5th
Semester). Approval of the Institutional Ethical
Committee was taken. A standardized E-
learning module in Pathology was developed
with the help of departmental faculties, other
college faculties, subject experts and the
Medical Education Unit team on one must
know topic (peripheral blood smear
examination) of Pathology. The E-learning
module and questionnaire were validated by
subject experts and later piloting with small
sample of students to prior to the actual
session. All 2nd M.B.B.S. students (5th
Semester) were subjected to a pre-test
questionnaire, the E-learning module and post-
test questionnaire followed by feedback after
obtaining their informed written consent for E-
learning as a method of teaching. Feedback
and suggestions given by the students were
assessed and analysed.
Results
A total of 145 students of 2nd MBBS (5th
Semester) were subjected to the pre-test
questionnaire, E-learning module on peripheral
blood smear examination, post-test
questionnaire and feedback after obtaining
their informed written consent. Frequency and
median score of various parameters of
feedback given by students were calculated as
per Table 1. Out of 145 participants, 98 were
male and 47 were female. There was no
statistically significant difference between
perceptions of male and female participants.
Comparison of pre- and post-test scores of
students was done using Wilcoxon’s sign rank
test. Students scored significantly more in the
post-test. Only 3% scored less in post-test and
5% had similar pre- and post-test scores.
Table 1: Frequency and median score of feedback given by students
Question
Frequency of responses
Median
SD
A
SA
Current method of E-learning via module of Peripheral blood
smear examination is relevant
9
79
29
4
Content of E-learning via Peripheral blood smear
examination module is adequate
10
83
21
4
Presentation of E-learning module is adequate
5
92
30
4
E-learning of Peripheral blood smear examination module is
useful
2
30
99
5
Time duration for E-learning is adequate
5
83
28
4
E-learning should be included as a part of syllabus
12
60
22
4
Other topics of Pathology should be taught by E-learning
14
55
20
4
Such practice of E-learning will improve students’ overall
performance
9
33
86
5
Practice of E-learning in other subjects will be helpful for
students
3
80
7
4
E-learning is good tool for revision
3
42
25
3
Rathod & Parmar, 2020
South-East Asian Journal of Medical Education
74
Vol. 14, no. 1, 2020
Discussion
The present medical curriculum has reached its
capacity and it is not viable to remove some of
the present content to make room for the new
information. Additionally, increasing students
required hours of instruction is not practically
feasible (Ozuah, 2002). Along with this
challenge, the field of Medical Education is also
facing loss of clinical revenues. Therefore, in
such situations providing information in a
traditional setting is not plausible. By keeping
the busy schedules of the physicians and
medical students in mind, medical educators
and trainers may opt to use non-traditional
options to provide instruction that they can
access at their convenience.
E-learning has grown in significance as an
educational tool just like technology has
developed and progressed over the years.
Interestingly, there have been more efforts at
advancing technology than on attempting to
understand the needs and learning styles of
individual learners and instructional design.
The 21st century has seen rapid progress with
such things as the Internet and onlinE-learning.
E-learning is defined as “learning conducted via
electronic media, typically on the Internet”.
In the present study, the effectiveness of E-
learning is discussed. The effectiveness of E-
learning is marked by its ability to achieve
statistically significant effect on improving
learners’ knowledge. According to our study,
the post-test scoring was high as compared to
the pre-test scoring which showed the
effectiveness of the E-learning module. Many
researchers found that there was statistically
significant improvement in learners’ knowledge.
The use of asynchronous E-learning modules
led to an increase in learners’ post-test scores
(Boye et al., 2012; Gaikwad & Tankhiwale,
2014).
In the present study the E-learning module was
used as to supplement the traditional teaching
because the basic knowledge of peripheral
blood smear examination was already
introduced to the students in the first year study.
The same study was done by Boye S, et al.
(Boye et al., 2012). The E-learning module in
this study provided coaching on immunology. It
was found that students who used the E-
learning modules had higher scores on the
immunology test than students who did not use
the E-learning module. Additionally, the
researcher found that intermediately skilled
students benefitted from the E-learning
modules more than the less skilled or best
skilled students. The results indicate that E-
learning could be used as a supplement
method of teaching to the traditional teaching
and hence to improve learning (Boye et al.,
2012).
Along with assessing the effectiveness of E-
learning instructions, is important to consider
how learners perceive the E-learning
instructions. Specifically, it is imperative to
assess students’ perceived satisfaction with
and usability of E-learning. In our study, the
students’ feedback showed that they feel it is
the best tool for study and revision too. They
want such E-learning module for every
important topic of Pathology as well as for other
subjects too. After reviewing the articles, it is
found that overall students perceived E-
learning modules as easy to use, had no
technical difficulties and found that the students
accepted the E-learning activity and perceived
it as “innovative, convenient, flexible, and
useful” (Gaikwad & Tankhiwale, 2014; Truncali
et al., 2011). It was found that the students
largely had good impression about the E-
learning program. Khasawneh, et al. reported
that approximately 70% of the students who
completed the E-learning module on infection
control and 72% of the students who completed
the E-learning module on congenital infection
reported some satisfaction or good satisfaction
for using E-learning modules as learning tool
(Khasawneh et al., 2016).
Conclusion
The present study concluded that in today’s era
of technology E-learning is very useful to
medical students. E-learning is being used as
educational intervention in medical education.
The students’ feedback showed that its very
effective way of teaching. In future E-learning
should be implemented more frequently in
Medical Education, which will create new and
exciting opportunities for both educational
institutions and students.
Acknowledgements
Authors are thankful to faculties of GSMC-
FAIMER, Mumbai for their guidance and
support. This article is a part of educational
project done by Dr. Gunvanti Rathod as GSMC-
FAIMER fellowship.
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... A recent study focused on the evaluation of an e-learning module offered in a pathology course in India; 6 however, in this study, e-learning is a priori considered a supplementary method to the traditional classroom-based teaching. Our research was conducted a year later when, due to the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic, e-learning was the main method of education delivery. ...
... Nevertheless, even though this research was conducted in a pre-pandemic class, it provided evidence that e-learning was very useful to medical students and suggested that it should be integrated into medical education. 6 Another recent study was conducted one year before the pandemic in a clinical pathology course for nursing students to explore the acceptance and impact of an e-classroom via Google in Taiwan. 7 Students were divided into two groups: the experimental group that attended both traditional and Google Classroom lessons, and the control group that attended exclusively traditional lessons. ...
... Students also evaluated the effectiveness of e-learning Pathology. Identifying effectiveness as the ability to achieve the improvement of a learners' knowledge 6 and knowing that all students registered on the course achieved a passing 296 grade in the exams, 21 we conclude that the faculty has organized the e-learning procedure successfully. Effectiveness, efficacy, usage and quality are the four keys for the evaluation of e-learning. ...
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Purpose: Synchronous and asynchronous e-learning is a promising and effective educational method for the delivery of medical lessons. Due to the public health measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, our Pathology Department faced the challenge of a total online transition of the lessons. Therefore, the aim is to evaluate the aspects of the applied e-learning method they received. Materials and methods: At the end of the semester when e-learning was applied, we designed a structured questionnaire consisting of 17 items via Google Forms, which took the students between 5 and 7 minutes to complete. Of the 257 students registered on the Pathology course in the fifth semester, 207 students (80.5%) returned completed valid questionnaires. Results: Fifteen of the seventeen components of the e-learning Pathology questionnaire were evaluated highly by the vast majority of the students. The two remaining items, the HIPON platform and the Microlabs e-lessons, were evaluated highly by almost half the students. Approximately 93% of medical students answered that e-learning could be integrated with real class lessons in the medical curriculum: 62.8% (N = 130) of students answered to a great extent, and 30.4% (N = 63) answered to a small extent. Statistically significant differences were found between the demographic characteristics of the participants (gender, permanent residence, working status) and their evaluation of the e-learning items. Conclusion: E-learning was successfully implemented for the delivery of the pathology lessons and was widely accepted by the students, providing evidence for its future integration into the medical curriculum. Our findings illuminate various aspects of the students' experience with e-learning, and we strongly recommend that the students' evaluation and perspective be taken into consideration by the faculty in the development of policies for higher-quality medical education.
... Evaluation of EL module in Pathology has been done by Rathod et al. 13 Though the study is done in pre-pandemic days and focuses more on it being used as a supplement to the traditional lecture, the study provides evidence that EL is very useful for students and should be incorporated in medical education. The overall positive response of the students in the study by Tanaka et al. has also shown that many topics of Pathology can be easily incorporated in the EL module. ...
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