Comparing the effectiveness of blended learning and traditional learning in an orthopedics course

Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2021 Dec;72:103037. doi: 10.1016/j.amsu.2021.103037. Epub 2021 Nov 18.


Introduction: The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is forcing medical schools to replace substantial parts of the traditional lecture method with online formats to maintain social distancing guidelines and reduce face-to-face contact in the classroom. To our knowledge, there have to date been few studies comparing the effectiveness of traditional teaching with blended teaching based on the students' final grades which the efficacy of online learning is still controversial, and this study aimed to compare the efficacy of blended teaching with conventional teaching in an orthopedics course.

Methods: This study was a retrospective cohort study based on data collected from fifth-year medical students between April 2019 and March 2021. The students were divided into two groups which based on years of study. The summative assessment was based on summing the MCQs plus KFs, the MEQ plus oral exam, OSCE, simulated patient chart reviews, and OPD work. All students took the same end-of-course quizzes with no differences between the groups regarding the kinds of knowledge tested. The results of these quizzes were used to compare the effectiveness of the conventional teaching in 2019 and the blended teaching in 2020. The paired t-test was used to analyze the data.

Results: A total of 252 students were enrolled in the study, of whom 128 and 124 students were in the traditional teaching group or blended teaching groups, respectively. The grade point averages of the students were 3.2 ± 0.4 and 3.3 ± 0.4 in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021, respectively, without significant difference (p-value = 0.06). The scores in the blended learning group were higher than in the traditional learning group in all assessment tools (MCQ, KF, Oral, and OSCE scores) except the MEQ.

Conclusions: Blended learning was not less effective than traditional learning for teaching medical students.

Keywords: Blend; Effectiveness; Learning; Orthopedics; Traditional.