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J Postgrad Med. 2020 Jan-Mar;66(1):17-22. doi: 10.4103/jpgm.JPGM_2_19.

Introduction of case-based learning aided by WhatsApp messenger in pathology teaching for medical students.

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Department of Pathology, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab, India.



The present study was carried out for comparative evaluation of case-based learning (CBL) aided with WhatsApp and didactic lectures (DL) while teaching a pathology topic to second-year medical students. In addition, the acceptability of WhatsApp as an aid to CBL was assessed.

Material and Methods:

After obtaining informed consent, 70 second-year Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) students were exposed to six sessions of CBL aided by case scenarios for one set of topics of anemia posted on WhatsApp groups. This was followed by six sessions of DL for separate set of topics in anemia. The multiple-choice questions (MCQ) test scores obtained pre and postintervention, of CBL and DL sessions, were compared to paired t-test (within the groups) and Student's t-test (between the groups). Categorical data were analyzed using Chi-square (χ2) test. Student's self-administered questionnaires and focus group discussions (FGDs) were used to collect student perceptions and analyzed quantitatively, as well as qualitatively.


The mean MCQ scores obtained postintervention in CBL topics were significantly higher compared to DL (22.78 ± 2.99 vs 17.78 ± 3.35; P < 0.001). Students perceived that CBL enhanced their curiosity; hence, the acquired knowledge through various resources was retained better. It enhanced their analytical skills and interest in learning pathology. In FGDs, the students appreciated the use of WhatsApp as an aid to CBL for its ease of sharing scenario-related additional information and prior discussions among themselves in chat groups at their convenience.


CBL aided by WhatsApp helped students acquire knowledge, discuss and learn actively, score more, and retain better than DL. Using WhatsApp as a platform helped them to interact at their ease and seek guidance from their mentors without resistance and hesitation.


Focus group discussion; self.directed learning; small group discussion; smartphone application; social networking

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