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Methods and Effects of a Case-based Pediatric Gastroenterology Online Curriculum

Feist, Mark*; Ciccarelli, Mary; McFerron, Brian A.; Molleston, Jean P.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: February 2013 - Volume 56 - Issue 2 - p 161–165
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e31825677d7
Original Articles: Gastroenterology

Objectives: Asynchronous learning, using Web-based instruction, is developing a growing role in medical education. Restrictions on resident work hours continue to require restructuring of formal educational activities in many programs. The objectives of this curriculum development project was to determine whether using blended learning with case-based online modules supplemented by faculty-facilitated case discussion was effective and well received.

Methods: The pediatric gastroenterology curriculum, completed during a 4-week subspecialty rotation, consists of 8 case-based online modules and four 1-hour didactic sessions. The curriculum was pilot tested using a 1-group, pretest/posttest design as well as a survey to assess both knowledge acquisition and learner satisfaction. Resident evaluations of the rotation were examined during a 4-year pre- and postimplementation period.

Results: Twenty-one learners participated in pilot testing of the curriculum. After completing the curriculum, there was a significant improvement in post-test medical knowledge scores (pretest 73%, posttest 92%, P < 0.001). The satisfaction survey showed that learners were highly satisfied with the course format, and this teaching method was actually preferred to more traditional methods of teaching. Pilot learners reported increased comfort in caring for patients with gastrointestinal complaints. Evaluations of the gastroenterology rotation improved significantly across multiple domains in the years after implementation of the curriculum.

Conclusions: This curriculum, which uses online teaching reinforced by faculty-facilitated case discussion, was both effective and well received by learners. The implementation of this curriculum appears to have had sustained beneficial effects on the learning environment beyond the simple acquisition of medical knowledge.

*Texas Tech University School of Medicine, Lubbock, TX

Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Mark Feist, MD, 4607 9th St, Lubbock, TX 79416 (e-mail:

Received 10 November, 2011

Accepted 20 March, 2012

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2013 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN