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Medical students' learning experiences and perceptions of immunology
Background: A major hurdle for medical educators today is determining how to effectively engage students in their study of immunology so that the concepts learnt can be retained and applied in the clinical years and beyond. No study has yet examined this in a systematic manner.
Aims: This study aims to investigate medical students’ learning experience of basic immunology and their perceptions of the relevance of immunology to their current education and future professional lives.
Method: A total of 131 medical students from Years 1-5 at the University of Tasmania, Australia responded to an online, self-administered and anonymous survey. Both quantitative and free-response qualitative data were subjected to statistical analyses to explore the students’ perceptions and learning experiences in their study of immunology.
Results: The students felt learning immunology is important and justified in their medical education; but they did not enjoy the learning experience. The students found immunology to be complex and difficult to relate to clinically. They also indicated that they are less likely to apply learnt immunological principles/concepts in their future practice of medicine.
Conclusion: Immunology is a challenging subject that may be overwhelming for medical students. Innovative teaching approaches need to be employed by medical educators to emphasise the pertinence of immunology in medical education and to engage students in experiential learning. Recommendations on improving students’ educational experiences in immunology and areas of future research were also proffered.
Publication titleThe Internet Journal of Medical Education
Department/SchoolTasmanian School of Medicine
PublisherInternet Scientific Publications
Place of publicationUSA
Rights statementCopyright 2013 Internet Scientific Publications