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Vet Clin Pathol. 2007 Sep;36(3):245-52.

Effectiveness of a computer-based tutorial for teaching how to make a blood smear.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.



Computer-aided instruction (CAI) was developed to teach veterinary students how to make blood smears. This instruction was intended to replace the traditional instructional method in order to promote efficient use of faculty resources while maintaining learning outcomes and student satisfaction.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a computer-aided blood smear tutorial on 1) instructor's teaching time, 2) students' ability to make blood smears, and 3) students' ability to recognize smear quality.


Three laboratory sessions for senior veterinary students were taught using traditional methods (control group) and 4 sessions were taught using the CAI tutorial (experimental group). Students in the control group received a short demonstration and lecture by the instructor at the beginning of the laboratory and then practiced making blood smears. Students in the experimental group received their instruction through the self-paced, multimedia tutorial on a laptop computer and then practiced making blood smears. Data was collected from observation, interview, survey questionnaires, and smear evaluation by students and experts using a scoring rubric.


Students using the CAI made better smears and were better able to recognize smear quality. The average time the instructor spent in the room was not significantly different between groups, but the quality of the instructor time was improved with the experimental instruction.


The tutorial implementation effectively provided students and instructors with a teaching and learning experience superior to the traditional method of instruction. Using CAI is a viable method of teaching students to make blood smears.

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