Comparison of didactic lectures and open-group discussions in surgical teaching

Sirikumpiboon, S.

Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand 97 Suppl. 11: S140-S144


ISSN/ISBN: 0125-2208
PMID: 25509708
Document Number: 16354
The teaching of medicine has varied and has continued to develop until today. Most courses rely on the lecture although it may bring less benefit to students. Another teaching technique, the open group discussion, may not be the most effective, but is widely accepted as a teaching development especially for its overall improvement of student skills. Basically, the teaching of surgery has more limitations than other subjects because patients with critical conditions are required. The present study was designed to compare the effectiveness of these two teaching methods, the lecture and the open group discussion, in the Department of Surgery, Rajavithi Hospital. Fifth year medical students enrolled from 2554-2555 BE (AD 2011-2012) were recruited in the study and randomly divided in groups by the Office of Administration, College of Medicine, Rangsit University. A colorectal surgeon taught the subject, common anorectal disease, throughout the study year. The drawing method was used to randomize the members grouped by teaching methods. The assessment comprised multiple choice questions (MCQ) and multiple essay questions (MEQ). Seventy-three students (39 females, 34 males) were recruited. Students' basic characteristic showed no association between groups of teaching methods. Higher mean MEQ scores were found in the open discussion group (55.83%) compared with those taught by lecture (31.23%), exhibiting significant difference (p<0.001). With respect to MCQ1 and MCQ4, students in the open discussion group had higher scores than those in the lecture group), was also with statistical significance (p = 0.02). Teaching medicine differs from other disciplines. To achieve the most effective teaching performance, teaching methods may be limited in some subjects. This study was a partial project for teaching in the Department of Surgery. It was shown that students in the open discussion group had better MCQ and MEQ scores than those in the lecture group. In developing student skills, giving open discussion provided greater interaction between instructors and students. Importantly, the instructor should manage and facilitate questioning techniques to more effectively transfer course content.

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