Crossword puzzles versus Student-Led Objective Tutorials (SLOT) as innovative pedagogies in undergraduate medical education
AIMS: Small group teaching in Pharmacology offers an effective platform to encourage interaction amongst peers and self-directed learning. The present study is an attempt to assess and compare the effectiveness and perception of students on two different pedagogical methods: Crossword puzzles and Student Led Objective Tutorials (SLOT).
METHODS: Second year undergraduate students who gave their informed consent were divided randomly into two groups: one which received crossword puzzle as a teaching learning method and the other had SLOT during which the students conducted an interactive quiz with multiple choice questions prepared by themselves. The students’ perceptions were recorded using a self-administered questionnaire. One week later, a unit test was conducted for both the groups and the performance of the students was compared. Statistical analysis was done using independent Student’s T test with SPSS version 15.0.
RESULTS: Analyses revealed a statistical significant difference (P<0.001) between the mean marks obtained in the SLOT group (n= 74; 6.5±3.8) and the marks obtained in the crossword group (n= 87; 4.2±2.9), with the students in the tutorial group performing better. The students opined that SLOT sessions helped them to understand Pharmacology better whereas crossword sessions enabled them to memorize the names of the drugs.
CONCLUSION: The present study revealed that SLOT sessions fared better compared to the crossword puzzles in terms of improving the students’ test scores. It fostered teamwork, self-directed learning skills and critical thinking. Crossword puzzles make the session more student friendly as it is fun and engaging but a careful design is inevitable as it may fail to test in-depth learning in students.
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