Flipping a biochemistry class within a medical curriculum: Impacts on perception, engagement, and attainment

Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2021 Apr 27. doi: 10.1002/bmb.21521. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The flipped classroom has gained prominence in higher education, but little has been written about its application in the Middle East. This study aimed to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and impact of flipping biochemistry classes in comparison to the traditional didactic program. The study was conducted on first-year medical students taking biochemistry at a private University in Saudi Arabia. A series of short, pre-recorded videos were used to replace traditional lectures. The scheduled lecture time was used for problem solving and discussion sessions. To gather their evaluation of the learning approach, participants completed an online survey. To study the effect of the learning approach on exam performance, the scores of the participants were compared in questions taught using the flipped classroom versus the traditional didactic method. Participants noted that the effort needed for the course was similar regardless of the learning approach. Moreover, examination performance measured using single best answer multiple-choice questions showed no difference between the two teaching methods. However, the participants did report a significantly better perception of the flipped classroom compared to the traditional approach. Although no significant improvement in examination results was noted, the participants significantly favored the flipped classroom over traditional lectures. This study has demonstrated that the flipped classroom can be used in the teaching of the biosciences within a Middle Eastern setting, resulting in an improvement in student satisfaction and engagement in the course materials.

Keywords: Middle East; attainment; biosciences; flipped classroom; perception.