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Adv Physiol Educ. 2001 Dec;25(1-4):127-33.

Active learning of respiratory physiology improves performance on respiratory physiology examinations.

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Department of Physiology, Wayne State University, School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Active involvement in the learning process has been suggested to enhance creative thinking, judgement, interpretation, and problem-solving skills. Therefore, educators are encouraged to create an active-learning environment by incorporating active-learning strategies into the class. However, there is very little documentation of the effectiveness of active-learning strategies. Furthermore, faculty are often reluctant to incorporate new strategies without documentation of the effectiveness of these strategies. To address this concern, we compared the performance of two individual classes on an identical respiratory physiology examination. One class was taught respiratory physiology using active-learning strategies. The other class was taught respiratory physiology using the traditional lecture format. The results document that students who learned using active-learning strategies did significantly better (P < 0.05) on the respiratory physiology examination than students who learned by the traditional lecture format (61 +/- 2.2 vs. 86 +/- 1.0). Thus, by actively involving students in the learning process, academic performance is enhanced.

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