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Korean J Med Educ. 2016 Mar;28(1):87-93. doi: 10.3946/kjme.2016.13. Epub 2016 Jan 27.

Improvement of debate competence: an outcome of an introductory course for medical humanities.

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Department of Medical Humanities, Yeungnam University College of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.



Academic debate is an effective method to enhance the competences of critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills and cooperation skills. The present study examined the improvement of debate competence which is an outcome of debate-based flipped learning.


A questionnaire was administrated to second-year premedical school students at Yeungnam University. In total 45 students participated in the survey. The survey questionnaire was composed of 60 items of eight subfactors on debate competence. To investigate the homogeneous of low and high achievement groups, 18 items on empathy and 75 items on critical thinking scales were used. To compare the pretest with posttest scores, data was analyzed using paired sample t-test.


There were no significant differences between low and high achievement groups by average grade at the beginning of the semester. There was a significant improvement in high achievers on the logical argumentation (p<0.001), proficiency in inquiry (p<0.01), active participation (p<0.001), ability to investigate and analyze (p<0.001), observance of debate rules (p<0.05), and acceptability (p<0.05). Even in low achievers, active participation (p<0.05) and ability to investigate and analyze (p<0.01) were significantly improved.


Results showed that students could improve their debate competence by the debate-based flipped learning. A prospective and comparative study on the communication and teamwork competences needs to be conducted in the future. It is suggested that in-depth discussion for the curriculum design and teaching will be needed in terms of the effectiveness and the outcomes of the medical humanities.


Debate competence; Debate-based flipped learning; Improvement of competence

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