Student perceptions of a simulation-based flipped classroom for the surgery clerkship: A mixed-methods study

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Abstract

Background.

The flipped classroom, a blended learning paradigm that uses pre-session online videos reinforced with interactive sessions, has been proposed as an alternative to traditional lectures. This article investigates medical students' perceptions of a simulation-based, flipped classroom for the surgery clerkship and suggests best practices for implementation in this setting.

Methods.

A prospective cohort of students (n = 89), who were enrolled in the surgery clerkship during a 1-year period, was taught via a simulation-based, flipped classroom approach. Students completed an anonymous, end-of-clerkship survey regarding their perceptions of the curriculum. Quantitative analysis of Likert responses and qualitative analysis of narrative responses were performed.

Results.

Students' perceptions of the curriculum were positive, with 90% rating it excellent or outstanding. The majority reported the curriculum should be continued (95%) and applied to other clerkships (84%). The component received most favorably by the students was the simulation-based skill sessions. Students rated the effectiveness of the Khan Academy-style videos the highest compared with other video formats (P < .001). Qualitative analysis identified 21 subthemes in 4 domains: general positive feedback, educational content, learning environment, and specific benefits to medical students. The students reported that the learning environment fostered accountability and self-directed learning. Specific perceived benefits included preparation for the clinical rotation and the National Board of Medical Examiners shelf exam, decreased class time, socialization with peers, and faculty interaction.

Conclusion.

Medical students' perceptions of a simulation-based, flipped classroom in the surgery clerkship were overwhelmingly positive. The flipped classroom approach can be applied successfully in a surgery clerkship setting and may offer additional benefits compared with traditional lecture-based curricula.

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