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Should Radiology Curricula be More Self-Paced?

Self-paced curricula for fourth-year medical students in a radiology clerkship could be a more effective form of learning, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology.

Otherwise known as the “flipped classroom” learning method, this model involves self-paced, independent learning guided by live didactic instruction and instructors who use class time to “guide knowledge application.” This method is drastically different from conventional teaching practices that involve lectures and homework. “Students have largely expressed satisfaction in flipped classroom learning and prefer this method to lecture-based instruction, said lead study author Nelly Tan, MD, a radiology instructor at UC Riverside. “Likely because the interactive format of a flipped classroom encourages active student participation while engaging students in higher levels of learning.”

The researchers observed students in a four-week radiology clerkship that used the “flipped classroom.” The students participated in online classes and live webinars, self-learning modules, and took weekly quizzes and a final exam on main radiology themes. To determine how well the students retained what they learned, they also were tested with a 109 question Alliance of Medical Student Educators in Radiology exam.

Overall, the “flipped classroom” model proved to be enormously successful. There was a 28 percent increase in the average pre- and post-lecture quiz scores and a 32 percent jump in pre- and post-AMSER scores. When it came to pre- and post-lectures, students demonstrated a 1.9 out of 5 increase in their subjective assessment of knowledge.

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