ABSTRACT: Is lecture dead? A preliminary study of medical students’ evaluation of teaching methods in the preclinical curriculum.
To investigate medical students’ perceptions of lecture and non-lecture-based instructional methods and compare preferences for use and quantity of each during preclinical training.
We administered a survey to first- and second-year undergraduate medical students at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama, USA aimed to evaluate preferred instructional methods. Using a cross-sectional study design, Likert scale ratings and student rankings were used to determine preferences among lecture, laboratory, team-based learning, simulation, small group case-based learning, large group case-based learning, patient presentation, and peer teaching. We calculated mean ratings for each instructional method and used chi-square tests to compare proportions of first- and second-year cohorts who ranked each in their top 5 preferred methods.
Among participating students, lecture (M=3.6, SD=1.0), team based learning (M=4.2, SD=1.0), simulation (M=4.0, SD=1.0), small group case-based learning (M=3.8, SD=1.0), laboratory (M=3.6, SD=1.0), and patient presentation (M=3.8, SD=0.9) received higher scores than other instructional methods. Overall, second-year students ranked lecture lower (χ2(1, N=120) =16.33, p<0.0001) and patient presentation higher (χ2(1, N=120) =3.75, p=0.05) than first-year students.
While clinically-oriented teaching methods were preferred by second-year medical students, lecture-based instruction was popular among first-year students. Results warrant further investigation to determine the ideal balance of didactic methods in undergraduate medical education, specifically curricula that employ patient-oriented instruction during the second preclinical year.