Digital problem-based learning: An innovative and efficient method of teaching medicine

Khaylen Mistry, Natasha Casie Chetty, Puran Gurung, Nicholas Levell

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The breadth of knowledge assimilated by undergraduates is substantial. Time must be utilised to impart knowledge and skills to ensure optimal training. Dermatology comprises a large portion of work in primary care; yet UK undergraduate dermatology training is short. Digital problem-based learning (PBL) is an innovative teaching method incorporating clinical images into intense, interactive teaching sessions.
To determine the efficacy of digital PBL sessions in teaching UK medical students during their dermatology module.
In total, 59 second-year medical students at Norwich Medical School during their dermatology secondary care attachment completed two 2.5-h digital PBL sessions. One session was focused on lesions and the second on inflammatory diseases. During each session, students assessed 60 clinical cases each comprising an image with a brief history. In small groups, students discussed the cases, described the images, and agreed a diagnosis followed by a group discussion with the supervising clinician who provided feedback. Following each session, students completed a feedback questionnaire.
In total, 117 sets of feedback were received; 60% of students considered they learnt a great amount in a short time. The majority of students reported feeling more confident to make a dermatological diagnosis and more motivated in clinics as a result of the digital PBL; 64% of students found digital PBL more useful than real patient clinics. The most frequent negative comment was that 2.5 h was too long to concentrate.
Digital PBL was a popular, effective, and efficient teaching method. Digital PBL sessions should be introduced alongside clinics and other teaching methods for undergraduates.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Education and Curricular Development
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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