From Potpourri to Percipience: Developing Problem Solving Skills in Medical Students through a Computer Assisted Active Learning Strategy JC11-JC14
Dr. Maya Roche,
Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Melaka Manipal Medical College, Manipal University, Manipal-576104, Karnataka, India.
Introduction: Problem solving skills are of utmost importance to medical students who in the future would depend on them for diagnosing a case. However, there are very few avenues to develop problem solving skills in the preclinical years. Generally, case scenarios are used by medical schools to develop these skills during Problem Based Learning (PBL) or Case Based Learning (CBL) sessions.
Aim: To build problem-solving skills by using analysis, reasoning and application. The experiment tests a novel digital mode to achieve these objectives.
Materials and Methods: This was a prospective cross-sectional study, conducted at Melaka Manipal Medical College (MMMC), Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India, spanning over four months. MBBS students (n=81), in the first year of their curriculum, took part in the activity. Seven case scenarios were designed using PowerPoint 2013. Each case scenario was divided into case title, case history, clinical findings, investigations and treatment. The content and construct validity of the case scenarios was carried out by a clinician and changes were affected accordingly. The slides were placed in random order, forming a ‘potpourri’ and presented to the students through a Local Area Network (LAN) in the digital laboratory. They were asked to sort the slides and give a diagnosis for each case.Using google forms a questionnaire was prepared and this was used to collect feedback from students.
Results: Majority of students (85%) scored more than 72% marks in the activity. Marks obtained in arranging the slides did not correlate with marks obtained in diagnosis of the case. However, it is important to note that all students who got the diagnosis right had full marks in arranging the slides. The present study required students to recall and relate the facts which they had learnt during their entire year, apply it to the case and give a diagnosis which 74% of them found challenging. Though, most of the time they succeeded in bringing order to the ‘potpourri’, their success in achieving percipience was limited.
Conclusion: This novel experiment in using case scenarios on a digital platform offers many possibilities for testing and building skills essential for clinical practice. The fact that the activity was much appreciated by students, bolsters the faculty’s resolve to plan many more such innovations.