Professor Redesigns Learning Material to Engage Medical Students

Medical education has come a long way, but the implementation of a 2005 learning theory can make it go further.

Idaho WWAMI Clinical Assistant Professor Tyler Bland recently published research regarding multimedia PowerPoint slide design and how it impacts medical education, by comparing medical student grades and lecture satisfaction levels when learning from multimedia lecture slides versus text-based lecture slides.

Based on the cognitive theory of multimedia learning (CTML), which implies that people learn better when images are combined with text, Bland converted text-heavy pharmacology curriculum into visually appealing, image-based slides.

“This theory has been around for a while but hasn’t been implemented well in Idaho WWAMI classes,” Bland said. “If you look at a lot of our lectures, they are dense text. That forces the professor to read the text to the students. But our students are smart and know how to read. It’s not helpful for the lecturer to stand up front and to read the slide to them. Multimedia slides allow the lecturer to walk students through the picture and show them how these things work.”


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