The potential value of multimedia programs as an accessory instrument for medical education has already been demonstrated in several areas. However, most of them lack adequate validation. The authors proposed this study in order to develop and evaluate a computer multimedia program, aiming at providing a more attractive and state of the art learning tool in dermatology.
The cybertutor was developed containing clinical cases, self-education classes, and short video presentations. In order to evaluate its impact, 50 undergraduate students attending the third year of Medical School at UFRGS were randomized into two groups: group 1 was submitted to a multimedia program on a specific dermatological subject – parasite infestations, and group 2 to standard classes on the same subject. Both classes were taught by an experienced teacher, on the same subject and at the same time. In the end, the level of knowledge acquisition for the two groups was evaluated by a multiple choice test.
The average of correct answers was 11.16 (SD = 1.625) in group 1 and 11.96 (SD = 1.645) in group 2. There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups (P = 0.09). The majority (80%) of the students who attended the cybertutor group showed interest in taking part in similar activities.
According to this study, multimedia programs may be used for undergraduate education in Dermatology as a complementary educational tool. Contact with an instructor is still considered to be important and should be offered simultaneously.