Evaluation of an online, case-based interactive approach to teaching pathophysiology

Med Teach. 2008 Jun;30(5):e131-6. doi: 10.1080/01421590801932210.


Aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate a new pedagogical approach in teaching fluid, electrolyte and acid-base pathophysiology in undergraduate students.

Methods: This approach comprises traditional lectures, the study of clinical cases on the web and a final interactive discussion of these cases in the classroom. When on the web, the students are asked to select laboratory tests that seem most appropriate to understand the pathophysiological condition underlying the clinical case. The percentage of students having chosen a given test is made available to the teacher who uses it in an interactive session to stimulate discussion with the whole class of students. The same teacher used the same case studies during 2 consecutive years during the third year of the curriculum.

Results: The majority of students answered the questions on the web as requested and evaluated positively their experience with this form of teaching and learning.

Conclusions: Complementing traditional lectures with online case-based studies and interactive group discussions represents, therefore, a simple means to promote the learning and the understanding of complex pathophysiological mechanisms. This simple problem-based approach to teaching and learning may be implemented to cover all fields of medicine.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Humans
  • Internet*
  • Pathology / education*
  • Physiology / education*
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Students, Medical / psychology
  • User-Computer Interface*