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Electronic voting to encourage interactive lectures: a randomised trial

Author(s): Duggan Paul | Palmer Edward | Devitt Peter

Journal: BMC Medical Education
ISSN 1472-6920

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 25;
Date: 2007;
Original page

Abstract Background Electronic Voting Systems have been used for education in a variety of disciplines. Outcomes from these studies have been mixed. Because results from these studies have been mixed, we examined whether an EVS system could enhance a lecture's effect on educational outcomes. Methods A cohort of 127 Year 5 medical students at the University of Adelaide was stratified by gender, residency status and academic record then randomised into 2 groups of 64 and 63 students. Each group received consecutive 40-minute lectures on two clinical topics. One group received the EVS for both topics. The other group received traditional teaching only. Evaluation was undertaken with two, 15-question multiple-choice questionnaires (MCQ) assessing knowledge and problem solving and undertaken as a written paper immediately before and after the lectures and repeated online 8–12 weeks later. Standardised institutional student questionnaires were completed for each lecture and independent observers assessed student behaviour during the lectures. Lecturer's opinions were assessed by a questionnaire developed for this study. Results Two-thirds of students randomised to EVS and 59% of students randomised to traditional lectures attended. One-half of the students in the EVS group and 41% in the traditional group completed all questionnaires. There was no difference in MCQ scores between EVS and traditional lectures (p = 0.785). The cervical cancer lectures showed higher student ranking in favour of EVS in all parameters. The breast cancer lectures showed higher ranking in favour of traditional lectures in 5 of 7 parameters (p < 0.001). The observed higher-order lecturer-students interactions were increased in the EVS lecture for one lecturer and reduced for the other. Both lecturers felt that the EVS lectures were difficult to prepare, that they were able to keep to time in the traditional lectures, that the educational value of both lecture styles was similar, and that they were neutral-to-slightly favourably disposed to continue with the EVS technology. The 2 lecturers disagreed regarding the ease of preparation of the traditional lecture, their ability to keep to time in the EVS lecture, and personal satisfaction with the EVS lecture. The lecturers felt that EVS encouraged student participation and helped identify where students were having difficulty. Conclusion In this setting, EVS technology used in large group lectures did not offer significant advantages over the more traditional lecture format.
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