Use of General Surgery and Urology Online Modules in Medical Education


1 Fiona Stanley Hospital Urology, Murdoch, Western Australia

2 Repatriation General Hospital, Daw Park, South Australia

3 University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia


Background Web-based learning is increasingly used as an adjunct to, and a replacement for, traditional learning methods. We investigated the impact of web-based learning modules in improving the delivery of undergraduate medical education in general surgery and urology. Objectives To determine if online learning modules improve student performance in general surgery and urology. To determine if previous use of online learning modules promote future utilization of such modules among students. Materials and Methods Four general surgical and urologic web-based learning modules were delivered as an adjunct to traditional teaching via an online learning management system to fourth year medical students in 2009 and 2010. Each module contained 40 identical pre-module and post-module questions which allow analysis of change in student performance after delivery of these modules. The student t-test and Fisher’s exact test were used for statistical analysis. Results In urology, the mean pre-module score was 22.4 (SD 4.3) and the mean post-module score was 33.0 (SD 2.1) (P < 0.001). Students who completed all the pre-module and post-module questions had a mean increase of 12.8 score points (SD 3.9). In general surgery, significantly more students completed all of the pre-module (42.7% vs. 27.5%) and post-module (23.2% vs. 7.3%) questions for the general surgical modules in 2010 compared to the urology modules in 2009 (P ≤ 0.001). Conclusions The introduction of web-based general surgery and urologic learning modules as an adjunct to traditional teaching improved student knowledge, and their usage improved over time.