Effectiveness of spaced repetition for clinical problem solving amongst undergraduate medical students studying paediatrics in Pakistan

Shazia F. Durrani, Naveed Yousuf, Rahila Ali, Fatima Fakhir Musharraf, Ammara Hameed, Hussain Ahmed Raza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Studies using spaced repetition for teaching and learning in undergraduate clinical rotations such as paediatrics are limited, even more so in the South Asian region. Therefore, this study aimed to identify the effectiveness of utilizing spaced repetition compared to traditional learning methods among undergraduate medical students during their paediatric rotation at a medical university in Pakistan. Methods: Bahria University Medical and Dental College (BUMDC) conducted quasii-experimental research in Karachi. Four topics were identified from the Year 5 Pediatrics curriculum to be used in the study, using which the study content was developed along with 50 multiple choice questions (MCQs) for assessment. All BUMDC Year 5 medical students rotating in Pediatrics were included and randomly allocated to the control or intervention group. In the control group, they provided the students with traditional study methods consisting of books and lectures to learn topics. In the intervention group, we created an Anki flashcard deck of the same topics to enable learning via spaced repetition. The researchers conducted a pretest and post test assessment of the 50 MCQs in both groups at the beginning and after the four-week study interval. The data were analysed using SPSS 19. Results: A total of 115 BUMDC medical students agreed to participate in the study; 70 (59.1%) were in the intervention group, and 45 (41.7%) were in the control group. The pretest mean score of the control group was 27.96 ± 3.70, and the posttest mean score was 27.22 ± 5.02, with no statistically significant difference at the 95% confidence level. The mean score of the pretest for the intervention group was 27.93 ± 4.53, and that of the posttest was 30.8 ± 4.56, with a statistically significant difference at the 95% confidence level. The intervention showed a significant effect size of 0.8. Conclusion: The use of spaced repetitions resulted in significantly greater scores for medical students studying paediatrics than for those using more traditional methods of learning, compromising medical books and lectures. Considering that medical students need to retain a vast amount of information, using spaced repetition through flashcards can be a more effective learning tool that is more cost-efficient and time-efficient than traditional learning methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number676
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2024

Keywords

  • Learning
  • Medical education
  • Spaced repetition

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