• Pain;
  • Medical Education;
  • Medical Students;
  • Web;
  • Elective Courses;
  • Knowledge Scores


Objective.  Online learning is an efficient new educational method that is able to link teachers with geographically dispersed students and capture the interest of students with interactive materials. Our objective was to describe curricula of new Web-based electives about pain for undergraduate medical education.

Design.  We created three interactive Web-based elective courses about pain targeted to medical and dental students. “The Puzzle of Pain” course introduced basic concepts of pain and neurobiology of pain. The humanities-based curriculum of “Empathy and Pain” taught students about emotional aspects of pain and empathetic responses. “The Cochrane Library and Pain” course introduced students to the concept of evidence-based medicine, critical appraisal of the literature, and the hierarchy of evidence in medicine.

Outcome Measures.  We measured program effectiveness with a pretest/posttest instrument and student satisfaction survey.

Results.  Mean knowledge scores increased significantly after the program and overall evaluations were positive.

Conclusions.  Delivering the pain electives for medical students in an online format was an efficient educational method, with high student satisfaction scores. Medical educators should consider online electives for medical students in pain studies as well as in other content areas.