21/07/2021 Medicine
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-021-02822-5 SemanticScholar ID: 236146751

A three-arm single blind randomised control trial of naïve medical students performing a shoulder joint clinical examination

Publication Summary

Technological advances have previously been hailed as a new dawn in Higher Education, with the advent of ‘massive open online courses’ (MOOCs) and online learning. Virtual platforms have potential advantages such as accessibility and availability but simply transferring educational material to the online environment may not ensure high quality learning. Clinical examination is a fundamental principle of medical assessment, and this study aimed to assess the role of technology in teaching these skills. To determine whether three teaching modalities were of equal efficacy in teaching examination of the shoulder joint to naive medical students. Sixty-seven pre-clinical medical students naive to large joint examination were recruited. Participants completed a learning style questionnaire and were then block randomised to three study: textbook study, face-to-face seminar, or video tutorial via online platform. The same examination technique was taught in all groups, with the intervention being the method of delivery All second year students were eligible for inclusion. The single exclusion criteria was previous exposure to clinical examination teaching. Students were assessed using a standardised scoring system at baseline (pre-intervention), and days 5 and 19 post-intervention (maximum score 30). Assessors were blinded to group allocation. The primary outcome was assessment score at day 5 post intervention. There was no difference between the three groups at baseline assessment (mean scores 2.4 for textbook, 2.8 for face-to-face, and 3.1 for video; p = 0.267). Mean post-intervention scores were 16.5 textbook, 25.5 face-to-face, and 22.4 video (p < 0.001, η2 = .449). There was no change between day 5 and day 19 post-intervention assessment scores in any group (p = 0.373), Preferred learning style did not affect scores (p = 0.543). Face-to-face teaching was the most effective method for teaching clinical examination of the shoulder. Technology can potentially increase accessibility and remove geographic barriers, but is not as effective if teaching techniques are simply mirrored in an online format. Online platforms allow in depth data analysis of how learners interact with educational material and this may have value in improving the design of online educational materials, and is a potential area for further research.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Faisal Mushtaq

Dr. Faisal Mushtaq

University of Leeds - Associate Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience

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