ABSTRACT Context: Medical biochemistry explains the molecular mechanisms of diseases. It has many ‘subject components’ like ‘definitions, classifications, structures, pathways, mechanisms and diseases’.To assist the biochemistry teaching learning process, teaching aids are used by teachers. Many studies have been conducted regarding the optimal use of teaching aids and have focussed importance of using teaching aids in combination.

Objective: The study aimed to select best teaching aids for different subject componentsbased on student feedback and to use the information for optimal use of multiple teaching aids in lectures.

Methodology: A studyelicited feedback from 82 2nd MBBS students. Questionnaires with a list of different teaching aids like a blackboard (BB), overhead projector (OHP), PowerPoint (PPT), animated videos (AV), three dimensional models and patients and subject components were distributed to all students. They were instructed to tick the single most appropriate teaching aid to be used by teachers to teach the subject components.

Results: Students preferred definitions to be taught using PowerPoint (54%) and classifications by use of blackboard (59%). While the blackboard(93%) was the most preferred for learning of metabolic pathways and cycles, animated videos were preferred for molecular mechanisms (82%). For learning chemical structures and molecular structures, students preferred blackboard (55%) and PowerPoint (38%).For illustration of disease mechanism and signs and symptomsPowerPoint (37%) and patients (48%) were preferred.

Conclusions:Students’ feedback can be used for planning of lectures with combination of teaching aids. It may turn biochemistry to be more easily understood by students.

Keywords: Biochemistry, Students’ feedback, Teaching aids.

 

 

Introduction

Medical Biochemistry is a part of the 1stMBBS curriculum in medical colleges across India. It is also studied by medical students worldwide. It deciphers the chemical basis of life and helps to understand life in health and disease. Physiological functions are manifestations of biochemical reactions. (1)  Importance of learning biochemistry lies in the fact that, it explains the molecular mechanisms of diseasesand biochemical basis of all diseases are slowly being unveiled.Most and perhaps all diseases have a biochemical basis. (2)

Nevertheless, teaching learning process of biochemistry is a tough nut to crack to both teachers and to students. Teachers on one hand find it difficult to teach a subject that can’t be visualised; on the other hand, students find it difficult to learn with imagining molecular structures and mechanisms, memorising definitions, classifications, pathways and cycles. Biochemistry has ‘subject components’ like ‘definitions, classifications, structures, pathways, mechanisms and diseases’.   It is a less intriguing subject to learn and a volatile subject to remember and difficult one to reproduce.

To assist the biochemistry teaching learning process, many teaching aids are used by teachers. Many studies have been conducted regarding the uses of teaching aids 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9and teaching methods. 10, 11Results of many studies have focussed importance of using teaching aids in combination to teach biochemistry. 5, 6, 8, 9.

There was a felt need to know how teaching aids may be combined to get the best benefits of combination teaching aids. Literature search showed that no studies have been conducted for making best use of multiple teaching aids in combination.

So this study was aimed select best teaching aids for different ‘subject components’ of biochemistry based on student feedback and to use the information for planning of lectures that usea combination of teaching aids.

Objective:

The present study aimed to select best teaching aids for different ‘subject components’ of biochemistry like ‘definitions, classifications, structures, pathways, mechanisms and diseases’ based on student feedback and to use the information for optimal use of multiple teaching aids in lectures

Methodology:

A study was conducted at the Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences, during September 2010. It involved 82 2nd MBBS students, of which 37 were men and 45 were women. Institutional ethical committee approval was taken and Informed consent of participants was obtained before the start of the study. Students were given a brief introduction about the study. Questionnaires (Annexure-1) with a list of different teaching aids like a blackboard (BB), overhead projector (OHP), PowerPoint (PPT), animated videos (AV),three dimensional models and patients in a row and ‘Subject components’ like definitions, classifications, metabolic pathways, cycles, chemical structures, molecular structures, molecular mechanisms, disease mechanisms and signs and symptoms of diseases in column were distributed to all students. The students were asked to go through the questionnaire and clear their queries. They were instructed to tick the single most appropriate teaching aid to be used by teachers to teach the ‘subject components’.

The data from the filled questionnaire were compiled and analysed.

Results:

Analysis of the data showed the student preferences towards teaching aid to be used for different ‘subject components’. (Table.1)

Table.1: Student preferences towards teaching aids to be used for different subject components.

 Subject components BB OHP PPT AV Models Patients
Definitions 30 5 44 1 0 2
Classifications 48 7 25 2 0 0
Metabolic pathways and cycles 76 0 0 5 1 0
Chemical structures

(Eg: Glucose)

45 3 25 6 3 0
Molecular structures 

(Eg: Hemoglobin , DNA)

20 3 31 25 3 0
Molecular mechanisms

(Eg. DNA replication)

9 1 5 67 0 0
Disease mechanism

(Eg. Diabetes)

17 2 30 28 1 4
Disease signs and symptoms 5 2 25 11 0 39

* BB: Blackboard, OHP: Overhead projector, PPT: PowerPoint, AV: Animated videos

Students preferred definitions to be taught using PowerPoint (54%) and blackboard (37%). For illustration of classifications blackboard (59%) was preferred over PowerPoint (30%).

The blackboard was the most preferred teaching aid (93%) for learning of metabolic pathways and cycles.

Figure 1: Pie chart showing teaching aid preferences for metabolic pathways and cycles

For learning chemical structures and molecular structures, students preferred teaching aids like blackboard (55%) and PowerPoint (38%).

Animated video was the teaching aid of choice for learning molecular mechanisms (82%).

Students’ preferences were divided between PowerPoint (37%), animated videos (34%), and blackboard (21%) for learning disease mechanisms.

To learn disease signs and symptoms students preferred patients (48%) as teaching aid followed by PowerPoint (31%).

 

Discussion:

Many studies conducted so far have reported that, the combination of teaching aids was preferred by students over the use of single teaching aid. But none of the studies have explored, which subject components be taught by which method. The present study is first of its kind and is the first step to bridge this gap in the knowledge.

Medical biochemistry has many subject components like definitions, classifications, metabolic pathways, cycles, chemical structures, molecular structures, molecular mechanisms, disease mechanisms and signs and symptoms of diseases. Available teaching aids to illustrate the subject components are Blackboard (BB), overhead projector (OHP), PowerPoint (PPT), animated videos (AV), three dimensional models and patients. Student feedback was elicited to know which teaching aid best suits each subject component.

Subject components like definitions were preferred to be learnt with PowerPoint. Because definitions are exact set of meaningful words and are better highlighted without ambiguity in PowerPoint.12

For classifications, the blackboard was preferred over PowerPoint. Probably because, classifications continue beyond the frames of PowerPoint slides and can be better accommodated in blackboard.

The blackboard was teaching aid of choice for learning of metabolic pathways and cycles as blackboard allows the flow of thoughts and reactants in uninterrupted fashion with a speed the students can comprehend. It also allowed eye-to-eye contact and interaction between teacher and student. 12Understandably, two dimensional chemical structures were preferred to be learnt over the blackboard and for three dimensional structure PowerPoint was preferred. 12

For molecular mechanisms, animated videos were preferred by students. Molecular mechanisms being invisible have to be imagined for better understanding; animated videos assist understanding by providing a visual aid.

Limitations of study: An important factor, each teacher’s ability to make use of different teaching was not considered. Study presumes that all teachers are equally able in making use of different teaching aids.

Conclusion:

The knowledge of students’ preferred teaching aids will help the teachers to plan and design their lecture using multiple teaching aids depending on the subject components. Thesesmall modifications in their lecturemay help in a big way in enhancing effectiveness of the teaching – learning process.

 

REFERENCES

  1. Mahadevappa KL, Pawan Kumar KM. Biochemistry in medical education. International Journal of Basic Medical Science 2011; 2 (2): 84-85.
  2. Robert K. Murray. Biochemistry and medicine. In: Murray, RobertJr, Mayes, Peter A, Rodwell Victor W, Granner Daryl K. Harper’s Illustrated Biochemistry. 26th ed.Published by McGraw-Hill, New York, 2003: p 1-2
  3. Ethel LB Novelli, Ana Angelica H Fernandes. Students’ preferred teaching techniques for biochemistry in biomedicine and medicine courses. Biochemistry and Molecular biology Education  2007.35;4: 263-266.
  4. Alexandre BS, Renato MP, Andre HO, Marcelo HL. The use of multiple tools for teaching medical biochemistry. AdvPhysiolEduc 32;38-46
  5. Priyadarshini KS, Shetty HV, Reena R. Assessment of different teaching aids and teaching methods for better perception of biochemistry by 1st MBBS students. Journal of evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences 2012;1 (6): 1154-1158.
  6. Khosrowbaki A. Students’ preferred teaching method for biochemistry. Edulearn10 proceedings, 2255-2258
  7. Vikas S, Prerna U, Mushtaq A, Vijay M. PowerPoint or chalk and talk: Perceptions of medical students versus dental students in a medical college in India. Advances in Medical Education and Practice. 2010:1 11–16.

Optimal use of multiple teaching aids in biochemistry lectures: A student feedback study.

Dr Vittal BG.

Address of corresponding author.

Dr Vittal BG, MD,

Associate professor of Biochemistry,

Bidar Institute of Medical Sciences,

Bidar, Pin: 585401

Karnataka, India.

Mobile: +91 8904595910

Email: vittal.bg@gmail.com

Word count of the text: 1767

First name: Vittal

Last name: Balakrishna

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