The use of 'Precision Teaching' in enhancing medical students’ dermatological diagnostic skills

Conor McGrath, Collette McCourt, Andrea Corry, Katerina Dounavi, Karola Dillenburger, Gerard Gormley

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Abstract

BackgroundEducators have been challenged to provide more effective dermatology teaching methods. Drawing from the discipline of Applied Behaviour Analysis, Precision Training (PT) (e.g. using flashcards during timed learning sessions) can promote fluency i.e. accuracy and speed in a particular skill. We aimed to determine the impact of PT on medical students’ dermatology diagnostic skills.MethodsA between-groups controlled interventional study was conducted. Third year medical students were allocated to an intervention (PT + traditional teaching) or control (traditional teaching) group. For the PT group, we designed 50 dermatological image flashcards. Flashcard practice (using the Say All Fast Minute Each Day Shuffle method) took place 2-3 times/day and students’ data on accuracy recorded over 5 days. Pre / post-training tests were carried out to determine the impact of PT on students’ diagnostic skills.ResultsIn total, 70 students (intervention group) / 65 (control group). Analysis of covariance was used to calculate the change score (comparing pre- and post-test). A statistically significant improvement of 8.8% (95% CIs; 4.9-12.7, p<0.001) was detected in the intervention group.ConclusionsThe findings of this study demonstrated a positive effect of PT on medical students’ dermatology diagnostic skills. This study signals new pedagogical opportunities for PT in undergraduate dermatology teaching.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalMedEdPublish
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 May 2018

Keywords

  • medical education
  • precision teaching
  • behaviour analysis
  • dermatology diagnostic skills

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