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Anat Sci Educ. 2017 Dec 18. doi: 10.1002/ase.1759. [Epub ahead of print]

Impact and Educational Outcomes of a Small Group Self-Directed Teaching Strategy in a Clinical Neuroscience Curriculum.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, Greenville, South Carolina.
University University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, Greenville, South Carolina.
Greenville Health System, Greenville, South Carolina.


The complexity of the material being taught in clinical neuroscience within the medical school curriculum requires creative pedagogies to teach medical students effectively. Many clinical teaching strategies have been developed and are well described to address these challenges. However, only a few have been evaluated to determine their impact on the performance of students studying clinical neuroscience. Interactive, 2-hour, self-directed small-group interactive clinical case-based learning sessions were conducted weekly for 4 weeks to integrate concepts learned in the corresponding didactic lectures. Students in the small groups analyzed cases of patients suffering from neurological disease that were based on eight learning objectives that allowed them to evaluate neuroanatomical data and clinical findings before presenting their case analysis to the larger group. Students' performances on the formative quizzes and summative tests were compared to those of first-year medical students in the previous year for whom the self-directed, small-group interactive clinical sessions were not available. There was a significant improvement in the summative performance of first-year medical students with self-directed clinical case learning in the second year (Y2) of teaching clinical neuroscience (P < 0.05) when compared with first-year students in the first year (Y1) for whom the self-directed learning approach was not available. Student performance in the formative assessments between Y1 and Y2 was not significantly different (P = 0.803). A target of ≥70% student scoring above 80% in the final summative examination was met. The current study revealed evidence for the impact and educational outcomes of a self-directed, clinical teaching strategy in a clinical neuroscience curriculum for first-year medical students. Anat Sci Educ.


formative assessment; medical education; neuroanatomy; neuroscience education; self-directed clinical learning; study modules

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