The usefulness of crossword puzzle as a self-learning tool in pharmacology

J Adv Med Educ Prof. 2018 Oct;6(4):181-185.


Introduction: Pharmacology is perceived as a volatile subject as it's difficult to recall and recite the core of the subject. Enriching the learning environment through incorporation of a variety of teaching and learning strategies and methods yields enhanced learning. Crossword puzzles provide expansion of vocabulary, stimulate thinking capacity, boost confidence, and fasten up the learning capacity; hence, the present study was conducted to investigate the usefulness of crossword puzzle as an innovative self-learning tool in pharmacology.

Methods: This prospective study was conducted among 5th semester students of the second professional MBBS course. A total of 139 students participated in this study and were evaluated with formative examination and feedback questionnaire. Permission was taken from Institutional Ethics Committee for the study. A crossword puzzle consisting of 32 questions on endocrine pharmacology was prepared and divided into two sections: the across section had 17 questions and the down section contained 15 questions. The data were analyzed, using Graph Pad Software and presented as percentage of the responses.

Results: On average, out of 32 questions, one mark each, the students scored 52.69% and all students responded correctly on questions on the topic of hormonal contraceptives. 75.5% of the students had an enjoyable experience and the majority of them agreed that it helped them enhance their knowledge of drugs, remember diseases and drug names, and overall learning about the topic. They were also of the opinion that this should be inculcated in pharmacology curriculum.

Conclusion: Incorporation of crossword puzzles, as an adjunct tool, was useful as majority of the students reported that this improved their attitude of learning, thereby improving their performance.

Keywords: Feedback; Lectures; Pharmacology; Self-learning; Endocrine system.