Clinical Relevance under the Microscope: Using Pathology To Stimulate Medical Student Motivation and Self-Regulated Learning in Histology.
Sing Yun Chang, I-Pei Tung, Kevin Chin, Richard S Fraser, Saleem Razack. McGill University Health Center, Montreal, QC, Canada; McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Background: Research suggests that medical students' motivation and interest for learning histology is low when it is not linked with relevant clinical applications. In this project, we studied the impact of an integrated teaching approach grounded in self-regulated learning (SRL) theory on student motivation and learning strategies in the histology laboratory. Using SRL as a theoretical framework, students are seen as active participants in constructing and assessing their own learning progress. The principal objective of this study was to determine how the use of an educational intervention that is theoretically grounded in SRL and designed to promote clinical relevance by using pathology cases and images might influence student motivation and learning approaches for histology.
Design: First year medical students were randomly assigned into experimental (n=25) and control (n=22) groups. Throughout four histology laboratory sessions, the former received handouts (one per lab) that integrated clinico-pathological case presentations with their histology exercises. The control group's handouts focused solely on teaching normal histology. A mixed method approach was used to quantitatively and qualitatively assess changes in students' motivation and learning through self-reported questionnaires and open-ended questions after administering the educational intervention.
Results: From the self-reported questionnaires, the experimental group showed a significant increase in the following SRL processes: task value (i.e., general interest; p=0.028), mastery approach goals (i.e., focus on mastering the learning task and not the grades; p=0.001) and elaboration (i.e., a form of deep learning that connects different concepts; p=0.021). Through the open-ended questions, while 59% of the control group stated that their learning approach had not changed after the intervention, only 32% of the experimental group made similar comments. Both quantitative and qualitative data demonstrated that students in the experimental group gained greater use of several SRL processes compared to the controls.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that the use of pathology based case material is a relatively simple and cost-effective method for improving students' self-regulated learning of histology. This study highlights the importance of integrated teaching in general and the use of pathology specifically as a way to scaffold SRL processes early in the medical curriculum.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 9:30 AM
Poster Session III # 126, Tuesday Morning