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Factors influencing successful integration of computer-based learning (CBL) materials into pharmacology courses. Ian Hughes School of Biomedical Sciences University of Leeds, UK i.e.hughes@leeds.ac.uk. What CBL materials are available?. Simple drill software Electronic books

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Factors influencing successful integration of computer-based learning (CBL) materials into pharmacology courses

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Factors influencing successful integration of computer based learning cbl materials into pharmacology courses

Factors influencing successful integration of computer-based learning (CBL) materials into pharmacology courses

Ian Hughes

School of Biomedical Sciences

University of Leeds, UK


What cbl materials are available

What CBL materials are available?

  • Simple drill software

  • Electronic books

  • Tutorial type programs

  • Simulations

  • Video material

  • Internet-based teaching resources

  • Electronic learning environments

What affects successful use

What affects successful use?

  • Usability

  • Suitability

  • Integration



  • Quality, presentation & internal navigation

  • Does it fall over?

  • Do you have enough screens?

  • Can the network cope?

  • Will it be there tomorrow?

  • Will they charge you for it?

  • Is it in your control?

  • Can the students access it?



  • Content?

  • Level?

  • Culture?

  • Language?

  • Learning style?

  • Added value compared to other delivery mode

  • Is there an alternative?



  • Students simply provided with access to software over a network DON’T USE IT. Only 12% of students on a module actually accessed a piece of software associated with a module.

  • Use (and student satisfaction) increased to:

  • >40% when the software was demonstrated in class

  • >70% when associated with a set task

  • >90% when associated with an assessed task

  • There is a need to integrate software with the rest of the teaching material

  • Analogy with the laboratory class

So why don t teachers do it

So why don’t teachers do it?

  • It takes time to produce material to integrate software into courses

  • Do teachers have the time to do this along with the other pressures we all feel?

  • 86% of pharmacologists identified shortage of time and lack of recognition and reward from their institution as the prime reasons why they did not introduce innovative teaching methods into their teaching.

    [TIPS 19, 257-262 (1998)]

So why don t teachers do it1

So why don’t teachers do it?

  • Do all teachers have the expertise to do this?

  • Attempts to integrate software into modules are often un-imaginative and do not enthuse students (e.g. look at the software and then answer these MCQ)

  • Of 8 groups developing support material 6 found significant difficulty in thinking of types of innovative materials which integrated software into courses.

  • All groups found devising methods for effective integration easier the second time around.

So what s the answer

So, what’s the answer?


(Teaching and Learning Resource Pack)

  • a pre-prepared package of editable materials supplying teachers with a choice of methods with which to integrate a software package into a course

  • an editablewrap-around for a software package

  • TLTP project: Implementing technology based teaching and learning in pharmacology; 1998-2001; USD500k.

What do tlrps contain

What do TLRPs contain?

  • Prepared editable exercises and tasks - complete with questions, answers, instructions, marking schedules,

    - everything you, as a teacher need -

  • e.g. MCQ, EMSQ (questions, answers, explanations, instructions to set, provided stems)

  • poster titles, web pages, crosswords, fill-ins, workbooks

  • PBL tasks, guided scenarios, drug profiles, disease profiles

  • essay titles, practical schedules and marking schedules, glossary construction, definitions……………..,

Do they work for staff students

Do they work for staff & students?

  • TLRPs evaluated in

    • staff & students in development universities

    • staff & students in universities external to project

      • pre- and post-TLRP use questionnaires

      • structured interviews

      • knowledge tests

      • staff diaries/logs of development process

        [Dewhurst & Noris]

Evaluation results

Evaluation - Results

  • Students(data from 12 universities)

    • positive about using CBL/TLRP as adjunct to normal teaching rather than replacement

    • liked explicit learning objectives

    • some preferred CBL practical to the ‘real thing’

    • some had concerns about loss of tutor contact

    • good scores in knowledge assessments

      • mean marks (%  SD, n); 76  13 (42); 53  16 (55); 58  7 (6); 61  13 (60)

Evaluation results1

Evaluation - Results

  • Staff (developing TLRPs)

    • enjoyed collaboration with colleagues

    • enjoyed the intellectual challenge

    • each TLRP takes an average of 70h to put together

    • the development time is shortened with experience

  • Staff (using TLRPs)

    • need to use new teaching methods and student-centred learning

    • very positive about the resulting teaching sessions

    • TLRP made introducing CBL and new teaching methods easier

    • big reduction in time needed to prepare materials:------

      • Simulation; 8-10 hours ---> 2 hours

      • Problem based learning; 30 hours ---> 3 hours

      • Case study; 60 hours ---> 2 hours

      • Work book; 32 hours --->0.5 hours

Are tlrps useful to new users

Are TLRPs useful to new users?

  • Carried out in-depth interviews with 6 first time users.

    • all found them really helpful - good example of how to use CBL e.g. good activities, ideas, assessments; good practical schedules; liked the glossaries

    • saved them considerable time - several days work achieved in a few hours

    • stimulated them to write their own TLRPs for other CBL programs

    • would definitely choose future CBL programs if TLRP available

Does it matter how cal is integrated

Does it matter how CAL is integrated?

YES!!!! ONE CAL program; used in 3 universities; all with year 2 students of pharmacology; approval rating by students:----

  • provided with workbook which was assessed and a required part of the course; approval = 90%

  • provided with MCQ which had to be completed in pairs and a joint submission made; marked and marks count; approval = 78%

  • shown in a lecture and provided on the intranet; approval = 59%

  • simply made known that the material was available on the intranet but that use was voluntary; approval = 46%

    [response rate to questionnaire different; not at same stage in year 2; different numbers and mixes on courses]

So where are we going

So, where are we going?

  • 1994-1999 - development/production of CBL materials

    21st century

    integration/implementation of learning resources in courses

  • NOT just of CBL materials - of all types of learning resources

  • NOT doing this individually

  • Collaboration and sharing is the way forward - we no longer have the time or the resource keep re-inventing the wheel at every university

Teaching and learning resource packs tlrps

Teaching and learning resource packs (TLRPs)

  • Developed collaboratively to provide editable shared materials to introduce new teaching into a course with minimal time commitment from the teacher

  • Can you afford not to be using one?

  • Can you contribute to the development of one?

  • Your LTSN will support you (£££!)

Internet based resources

Internet based resources

  • Lots available - quality? Integration?

  • Will they be there tomorrow?

  • Will they charge you?

  • What if it goes down?

  • Download or use on-line?

    DOG LAB: Vincenzi, http://courses.washington.edu/chat543/cvans/

    CVS MODULE: Cracowski, www-sante.ujf-grenoble.fr/SANTE/pharma/accueil.htm

    COURSE: Allain: med.univ-rennes1.fr/edud/pharmaco

    LABS: Dempster: www.strath.ac.uk/Departments/PhysPharm/index.html

    MATERIALS/SITES: British Pharmacological Society: bps.ac.uk



  • software just “available” on the network was looked at by 12% of the students!

  • Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4

  • just available 37 9 2 0

  • seen in lecture 100 73 58 31

  • left out but examinable 100 95 78 62

  • specific work task 100 100 95 90

  • assessed in software 100 100 100 100

  • Does it improve learning?

  • In comparison with what? Students use in own time, spend their own money on it and complain if its not available.

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