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Evaluating The Integration of Computer-Based Learning Modules Into The First Year Medical School Nutrition Curriculum

Journal of the American Dietetic Association
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0002-8223(98)00466-0
  • Tuesday
  • October 20
  • Education
  • Medicine


Abstract To present nutrition concepts in a way that is innovative and integrative, we recently introduced and evaluated self-directed computer-based educational learning formats in the Medical Nutrition Course required for the past 10 years. Three interactive, case-based CD-ROM computer modules (Nutrition in Medicine ® series, Medical Nutrition Curriculum Initiative, University of Chapel Hill, North Carolina) on cancer, stress and anemias were identified and evaluated for content, format, and effort required. Standardized pre-tests covered nutrition knowledge application. Students used the pre-test to focus their attention on major concepts before viewing each module. Six case-based questions were also assigned for class discussion. A comprehensive post-test was scheduled at the completion of the three modules. The computer program tracked the percent of each module completed and the time spent. Attitude questions measured the students’ responses to the new format. Presented are the final results of the completed cancer module and the partial results of the in-progress stress and anemia modules. For the cancer, anemia and stress modules the mean pre-test scores were 32.5%, 29.5% and 32.2%, respectively. The students completed 93.1±9.1% and spent a mean of 3.0±2.7 hrs on the cancer module. For the attitude questions on cancer and nutrition, the students found 1) the issues essential (85%), 2) a strong interest in furthering their knowledge (69%), and 3) ranked the module useful in learning about them (57%). Also helpful were the case-based problem solving questions (67%) and the class discussion on key points (60%). The use of interactive learning through computer modules has fostered an increased sense of student independence and facilitated subject mastery, as well as enhanced computer skills applicable to the new board exams.

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