Pediatric Online Evidence-Based Medicine Assignment Is a Novel Effective Enjoyable Undergraduate Medical Teaching Tool: A SQUIRE Compliant Study

Kotb, M. A., H. E. N. mahdy, N. E. - D. M. Khalifa, M. H. N. Taha, and M. A. Lotfi, "Pediatric Online Evidence-Based Medicine Assignment Is a Novel Effective Enjoyable Undergraduate Medical Teaching Tool: A SQUIRE Compliant Study", Medicine (Baltimore) Journal, vol. 94, issue 29, pp. 1178 - 1185, 2015. copy at


Abstract: Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is delivered through a didactic, blended learning, and mixed models. Students are supposed to construct an answerable question in PICO (patient, intervention, comparison, and outcome) framework, acquire evidence through search of literature, appraise evidence, apply it to the clinical case scenario, and assess the evidence in relation to clinical context.

Yet these teaching models have limitations especially those related to group work, for example, handling uncooperative students, students who fail to contribute, students who domineer, students who have personal conflict, their impact upon progress of their groups, and inconsistent individual acquisition of required skills.

At Pediatrics Department, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, we designed a novel undergraduate pediatric EBM assignment online system to overcome shortcomings of previous didactic method and aimed to assess its effectiveness by prospective follow-up during academic years 2012 to 2013 and 2013 to 2014.

The novel web-based online interactive system was tailored to provide sequential single and group assignments for each student. Single assignment addressed a specific case scenario question, while group assignment was teamwork that addressed different questions of same case scenario. Assignment comprised scholar content and skills.

We objectively analyzed students’ performance by criterion-based assessment and subjectively by anonymous student questionnaire.

A total of 2879 were enrolled in 5th year Pediatrics Course consecutively, of them 2779 (96.5%) logged in and 2554 (88.7%) submitted their work. They were randomly assigned to 292 groups. A total of 2277 (89.15%) achieved ≥80% of total mark (4/5), of them 717 (28.1%) achieved a full mark. A total of 2178 (85.27%) and 2359 (92.36%) made evidence-based conclusions and recommendations in single and group assignment, respectively (P < 0.001). A total of 1102 (43.1%) answered student questionnaire, of them 898 (81.48%) found e-educational experience satisfactory, 175 (15.88%) disagreed, and 29 (2.6%) could not decide. A total of 964 (87.47%) found single assignment educational, 913 (82.84%) found group assignment educational, and 794 (72.3%) enjoyed it.

Web-based online interactive undergraduate EBM assignment was found effective in teaching medical students and assured individual student acquisition of concepts and skills of pediatric EMB. It was effective in mass education, data collection, and storage essential for system and student assessment.

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