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Asia Pac J Public Health. 2017 Apr;29(3):229-240. doi: 10.1177/1010539517700473.

A Mock Randomized Controlled Trial With Audience Response Technology for Teaching and Learning Epidemiology.

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1 Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.


The study's objective was to apply and assess an active learning approach to epidemiology and critical appraisal. Active learning comprised a mock, randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted with learners in 3 countries. The mock trial consisted of blindly eating red Smarties candy (intervention) compared to yellow Smarties (control) to determine whether red Smarties increase happiness. Audience response devices were employed with the 3-fold purposes to produce outcome data for analysis of the effects of red Smarties, identify baseline and subsequent changes in participant's knowledge and confidence in understanding of RCTs, and assess the teaching approach. Of those attending, 82% (117 of 143 learners) participated in the trial component. Participating in the mock trial was a positive experience, and the use of the technology aided learning. The trial produced data that learners analyzed in "real time" during the class. The mock RCT is a fun and engaging approach to teaching RCTs and helping students to develop skills in critical appraisal.


active learning; audience response technology; critical appraisal; epidemiology; happiness; medical education; public health; randomized controlled trial; study design

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