Flipped classroom enhances learning outcomes in medical certificate education

November 9, 2018, University of Eastern Finland
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The quality of medical certificates written by students of medicine was better when they were taught by using the flipped classroom approach instead of traditional lecturing. A randomly selected student from the flipped classroom group had an 85 percent probability to receive a better total score than a student from the traditional teaching group, according to a new study from the University of Eastern Finland.

One of the goals of medial training is to provide students with good skills in writing medical certificates and medical statements. In Finland, permanent residents are covered by social security insurance administered by the Social Insurance Institution of Finland. In accordance with this social security scheme, patients with certain illnesses are entitled to special reimbursement of their medical costs. The procedure for obtaining this entitlement is initiated by a medical written by the treating doctor. Hence, doctors must have good certificate writing skills and knowledge of the content and goals of the insurance scheme.

Nowadays, medical education is increasingly geared towards methods that activate students, such as flipped learning in which students prepare for classes by, for example, viewing video materials in advance. The effects of flipped learning on medical certificate education hasn't been studied much before.

The study compared the writing skill scores of students attending traditional lectures and students participating in flipped teaching in medical certificate education. In medical offered in Finland, skills in medical certificate writing are taught to fourth-year students as part of a more extensive introductory course in general practice. In 2015, teaching was delivered through traditional lectures. In 2016, the approach was used, and students familiarised themselves with video materials independently before each class. In both years, students used the same background material to write a medical certificate on the entitlement of a fictional patient to special reimbursement of diabetes medication. A random sample of 40 students from each year was selected for analysis, and two experts assessed the students' statements by giving scores to different sections.

Explore further: 'Flipped' science class helps women, those with lower GPA, study shows

More information: Nina Tusa et al, Medical certificate education: controlled study between lectures and flipped classroom, BMC Medical Education (2018). DOI: 10.1186/s12909-018-1351-7

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