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Original Research

Effectiveness of computer simulation versus chart-based learning in experimental pharmacology among undergraduate medical students

Liya Roslin Joseph, Santosh R Pillai.


Background: Animal experiments to learn experimental pharmacology are now replaced with computer-assisted learning exercises and with other possible alternatives.

Aims and Objectives: This study aims to compare the effectiveness of computer simulation (CS) with chart-based learning in experimental pharmacology among undergraduate medical students and to assess the perception of students regarding these methods.

Materials and Methods: The 2nd year MBBS students were divided into two groups of 40 each and each group was trained in experimental pharmacology with the help of either CS or charts with graphical illustrations separately. At the end of each session, a test was conducted to all the students irrespective of the method used and scores were calculated. After six such sessions, feedback from students was collected by a validated questionnaire with 5-point Likert scale. Unpaired t-test was used to compare post-test scores between the groups.

Results: The CS group had obtained higher scores compared to chart-based learning group and there was a statistically significant difference between the scores for session 4 (simulation: 6.45 ± 1.25 and CBL: 5.72 ± 1.55) and 6 (simulation:7.12 ± 1.66 and CBL:4.77 ± 1.90). The overall academic performance also was higher for simulation group (38.35 ± 7.75) compared to chart group (34.10 ± 7.79) and the difference was statistically significant. Perception of students also showed that CS helped them to concentrate and to understand the topic well. CS was the preferred method for majority of the students (46%).

Conclusion: CS is more effective compared to chart-based learning for learning experimental pharmacology and is a better alternative for animal experiments.

Key words: Experimental Pharmacology; Computer Simulation; Chart-based Learning; Medical Students

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