The use of a technology-assisted and teacher-supervised online discussion platform to promote academic progress in blended embryology courses

Linlin Gong, Yang Song, Yingsong Xu, Mingqi Wang, Haiying Ma, Weiwei Liu, Liang Zhu, Jian Li, Man Luan, Wanjiang Chu, Xiuli Wang, Xin Zhou, Wei Wei, Lihong Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Students’ engagement with learning materials and discussions with teachers and peers before and after lectures are among the keys to the successful implementation of blended programs. Mixed results have been reported by previous studies on blended learning. This study evaluated the effectiveness of embedding a teacher-supervised online discussion platform in a blended embryology course in terms of its impact on students’ capabilities to handle difficult and cognitively challenging tasks. Methods: Two forms of blended learning were investigated and compared in this study. Students in the control group (n = 85) learned online materials before each class, followed by classroom instruction and activities in which face-to-face discussion and communication between students were encouraged. Students in the experimental group (n = 83) followed a similar procedure with an additional teacher-supervised online discussion platform to guide, supervise and evaluate their learning progress. All participants were first-year medical students in clinical medicine at Dalian Medical University who had enrolled in 2017. All participants took the final exam to test their learning outcomes. Results: The embryology grades of students in the experimental group were significantly higher than those of students in the control group (p = 0.001). Additionally, the scores of students in the experimental group on questions with a high difficulty level (p = 0.003) and questions assessing high-order cognitive skills (p = 0.003) were higher than those of students in the control group; the effect size was moderate (η2 > 0.05). Conclusions: In blended embryology courses, compared with learner-led and face-to-face discussion, the teacher-supervised online discussion platform has great potential to enable students to achieve higher grades and solve difficult and cognitively challenging tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number817
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Blended learning
  • Embryology
  • Medical education
  • Teacher-supervised engagement

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