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Abstract: FR-OR098

Harnessing Technology to Enhance Medical Student Learning

Session Information

Category: Educational Research

  • 800 Educational Research


  • Waheed, Sana, University Of Wisconsin School Of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, United States
  • Altschafl, Beth A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States

Various studies have shown that active learning is more effective than passive learning for long-term retention of concepts for students. Moreover, in this day and age, young learners seem to be familiar, adept, and excited about engaging with online learning material. Therefore, we have designed online leaning materials which allow medical studnents to interact with them in an active manner that leads to improved long-term retention of renal pathophysiological principles.


Our medical school curriculum at the University of Wisconsin transformed in the fall of 2016 and as a part of this process we created numerous online enduring learning activities (ELA) in addition to the traditional in class lectures and medium group discussions for first year medical students. Some ELAs teach basic science concepts in an innovative way involving technologies like the lightboard. Other ELAs utilize Articulate Storyline, which allows the students to interact with online simulated cases to apply basic science concepts such as sodium, water, and acid- base balance to clinical care. Students receive immediate feedback during these activities through the use of embedded self-assessment activities. Suggested by their name, ELAs are designed to be enduring; they are stored in a in a repository and are easily searchable with the intention that students revisit their content during their clinical years.


To determine if active learning promoted better long-term retention of renal pathophysiological concepts, we compared the students’ scores for content taught in-class during traditional lectures to concepts that were taught through ELAs for the renal exam. Our data shows that students performed better on questions from ELA content (Table 1).


Our preliminary data indicates that active learning methodologies such as delivering content through online ELAs is an effective way to teach difficult renal pathophysiology concepts. Feedback indicates that students find these online activities more engaging, and the ELAs offer better student interaction with the material and this likely translates to improved long-term retention of the material in our students.

Table 1: Student scores for content taught through ELAs compared to traditional didactic format