University Of Tasmania
134637 - Minimal effects of reduced teaching hours on undergraduate medical student learning outcomes and course evaluations.pdf (463.88 kB)
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Minimal effects of reduced teaching hours on undergraduate medical student learning outcomes and course evaluations

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Introduction: Various pressures exist for curricular change, including economic forces, burgeoning knowledge, broadening learning outcomes, and improving quality and outcomes of learning experiences. In an Australian 5-year undergraduate medical course, staff were asked to reduce teaching hours by 20% to alleviate perceived overcrowded preclinical curriculum, achieve operating efficiencies and liberate time for students' self-directed learning.

Methods: A case study design with mixed methods was used to evaluate outcomes.

Results: Teaching hours were reduced by 198 hours (14%) overall, lectures by 153 hours (19%) and other learning activities by 45 hours (7%). Summative assessment scores did not change significantly after the reductions: 0.4% increase, 1.5% decrease and 1.7% increase in Years 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The percentage of students successfully completing their academic year did not change significantly: 94.4% before and 93.3% after the reductions. Student evaluations from eVALUate surveys changed little, except workload was perceived to be more reasonable.

Conclusions: Teaching hours, particularly lectures, can be moderately reduced with little impact on student learning outcomes or satisfaction with an undergraduate medical course.


Publication title

Medical Teacher








Tasmanian School of Medicine


Carfax Publishing

Place of publication

Rankine Rd, Basingstoke, England, Hants, Rg24 8Pr

Rights statement

Copyright 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Medical teacher, on 22 August 2019, available online:

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum