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Keywords:

  • self-learning modules;
  • basic science education;
  • undergraduate medical education;
  • undergraduate medical curriculum;
  • computer-assisted learning;
  • active learning

Abstract

This study used qualitative and quantitative approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of self-learning modules (SLMs) developed to facilitate and individualize students' learning of basic medical sciences. Twenty physiology and nineteen microanatomy SLMs were designed with interactive images, animations, narrations, and self-assessments. Of 41 medical students, 40 students voluntarily completed a questionnaire with open-ended and closed-ended items to evaluate students' attitudes and perspectives on the learning value of SLMs. Closed-ended items were assessed on a five-point Likert scale (5 = high score) and the data were expressed as mean ± standard deviation. Open-ended questions further evaluated students' perspectives on the effectiveness of SLMs; student responses to open-ended questions were analyzed to identify shared patterns or themes in their experience using SLMs. The results of the midterm examination were also analyzed to compare student performance on items related to SLMs and traditional sessions. Students positively evaluated their experience using the SLMs with an overall mean score of 4.25 (SD ± 0.84). Most students (97%) indicated that the SLMs improved understanding and facilitated learning basic science concepts. SLMs were reported to allow learner control, to help in preparation for subsequent in-class discussion, and to improve understanding and retention. A significant difference in students' performance was observed when comparing SLM-related items with non-SLM items in the midterm examination (P < 0.05). In conclusion, the use of SLMs in an integrated basic science curriculum has the potential to individualize the teaching and improve the learning of basic sciences. Anat Sci Educ 3: 219–226, 2010. © 2010 American Association of Anatomists.