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Open Access Research article

Impact of e-resources on learning in biochemistry: first-year medical students’ perceptions

Joe Varghese*, Minnie Faith and Molly Jacob

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, 632002, India

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BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:21  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-21

Published: 17 April 2012

Abstract

Background

E-learning resources (e-resources) have been widely used to facilitate self-directed learning among medical students. The Department of Biochemistry at Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, India, has made available e-resources to first-year medical students to supplement conventional lecture-based teaching in the subject. This study was designed to assess students’ perceptions of the impact of these e-resources on various aspects of their learning in biochemistry.

Methods

Sixty first-year medical students were the subjects of this study. At the end of the one-year course in biochemistry, the students were administered a questionnaire that asked them to assess the impact of the e-resources on various aspects of their learning in biochemistry.

Results

Ninety-eight percent of students had used the e-resources provided to varying extents. Most of them found the e-resources provided useful and of a high quality. The majority of them used these resources to prepare for periodic formative and final summative assessments in the course. The use of these resources increased steadily as the academic year progressed. Students said that the extent to which they understood the subject (83%) and their ability to answer questions in assessments (86%) had improved as a result of using these resources. They also said that they found biochemistry interesting (73%) and felt motivated to study the subject (59%).

Conclusions

We found that first-year medical students extensively used the e-resources in biochemistry that were provided. They perceived that these resources had made a positive impact on various aspects of their learning in biochemistry. We conclude that e-resources are a useful supplement to conventional lecture-based teaching in the medical curriculum.