Medical Journal of Dr. D.Y. Patil Vidyapeeth

: 2014  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 693--695

Interactive teaching: Understanding perspectives of II MBBS students in Pathology

Archana C Buch, Shirish S Chandanwale, Sunita A Bamnikar 
 Department of Pathology, Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College, Hospital and Research Centre, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pimpri, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Archana C Buch
B-603 Gold Coast, Ivory Estates, Someshwarwadi, Pune - 411 008, Maharashtra


Background and Context: In medical education, lectures comprise an important mode of teaching. A lecture running into an hour can become monotonous and fails to hold attention until the end. There is a need to explore innovations in planning lectures so as to sustain interest. Aim: Introduce interactive teaching methods during lectures and elicit students«SQ» perception about them. Materials and Methods: A number of interactive methods such as group discussions, brainstorming, question answer sessions, multiple choice questions (MCQs), confusion technique and summaries were introduced in the course of the lectures in a batch of 150 medical students. Later the perceptions of the students were elicited regarding these sessions using a questionnaire based on Likert scale, which was validated in a pilot study. Results: Validation of the scale indicated good internal consistency with Crohnbach«SQ»s alpha coefficient of 0.9. Majority (73%) of the students agreed or completely agreed to like the sessions. Similarly, 75% agreed or completely agreed to like teamwork. Most popular interactive mode was MCQs (76% agreed to completely agreed), followed by brainstorming (64% agreed to completely agreed) and confusion technique (53% agreed to completely agreed). Most students were also of the view that interactivity during lectures improved communication skills, helped in retention of the topic, improved attention span and would want the method introduced for all lectures. Conclusion: A paradigm shift toward interactive sessions during lectures is required to make them effective.

How to cite this article:
Buch AC, Chandanwale SS, Bamnikar SA. Interactive teaching: Understanding perspectives of II MBBS students in Pathology.Med J DY Patil Univ 2014;7:693-695

How to cite this URL:
Buch AC, Chandanwale SS, Bamnikar SA. Interactive teaching: Understanding perspectives of II MBBS students in Pathology. Med J DY Patil Univ [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 May 14 ];7:693-695
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Full Text


Lecture is the most commonly used method for a large group teaching in medical education. It is considered the most cost-effective method in comparison with other teaching learning methods. [1] However, attention span studies have shown that students' attention decreases significantly after 20 min in traditional lectures. [2],[3] Introducing interactivity in the lecture breaks the monotony and stimulates interest resulting in improved attention. [4]

Lecture imparts a great deal of information quickly and effectively to a large number of students. Tutorials, seminars and other student centered learning have been used to complement lectures which are viewed as interactive components. However in recent years, efforts are taken to make the lecture more effective by using various interactive methods. In our medical college, traditional lectures are the most commonly used method of teaching. The main aim of the project was to introduce interactivity and study its effectiveness using questionnaire.

 Materials and Methods

The present study was carried out on 150 2 nd MBBS students at the Department of Pathology of a Teaching Medical College. Ethical committee approval was taken. Discussions were carried out with the head of the department and faculty members of the department regarding the project and their valuable inputs were taken into consideration. A series of interactive lessons were planned and different types of interactivities were introduced in the lecture design at the appropriate interval. Initially, two sessions were conducted for students in which the concept of interactive teaching was explained to them. A questionnaire was prepared to get feedback from the students regarding their perception about the interactive teaching methods.

The questionnaire was validated by administering to a group of students. Internal consistency was assessed by Cronbach's alpha coefficient. A Cronbach's alpha of more than 0.7 was taken as a satisfactory internal consistency. Statistical software SPSS Version 17 was used to calculate Cronbach's alpha coefficient. Besides face validity, content validity, consensual validity, convergent validity and construct validity of the questionnaire were assessed during the pilot study.

During the course of 1 hour lecture, pauses were taken at appropriate intervals. Various interactive teaching learning methods such as small group discussions (teamwork), brainstorming, asking questions in the form of multiple choice questions (MCQs), confusion technique and summary at the end of the lecture were introduced in the lecture series at appropriate levels. The class was divided into small group or teams and asked to answer as a group to facilitate the principles of adult learning. Brainstorming was carried out at the beginning of the lecture by either asking questions related to the topics or giving a case history suggesting the diagnosis of the disease or narrating a small story to arouse an interest and to activate students' thinking process. In confusion technique, the students were asked to write their doubt on a piece of paper and pass it forward like a "passing the parcel" game. Teacher will ask students to stop passing the paper in few seconds and the person having the paper reads out the doubt in the class and teacher will explain it again and clear the doubt. In summary, at the end of the class, students are asked to summarize the important points of the lectures. The interactive technique was followed for 10 lectures. The validated questionnaire was administered to the study sample to elicit their perceptions on the interactive sessions they attended.


Validation of the instrument

The pilot study on 30 students to validate the instrument for internal consistency yielded a Cronbach's alpha coefficient of 0.9 indicating good internal consistency. Face, content and consensual validity was also rated satisfactory by experts.

The responses of the feedback form were graded using Likert's scale 1-5. These scales were than statistically analyzed. Student's interest in interactive lecture was evident from the feedback they gave after the special session. The feedbacks from the students using the validated questionnaire were summarized using descriptive statistics (percentages) Summative data analysis was carried out of related questionnaire. The interactive lectures were liked and enjoyed by 73% students [Figure 1]. Nearly 75% agreed or completely agreed to like work as a team in small groups. The MCQs were liked by most of the students, followed by brainstorming and confusion technique [Figure 2]. The students felt that interactivity improved their communication skills, added to the retention of the knowledge, improved the attention span during the lecture and hence recommended its use for all other lectures [Figure 3]. Only few students noted that it is time consuming and syllabus will not get completed.{Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}

For traditional lectures, students felt that they are monotonous, continuous and difficult to concentrate beyond 20-30 min. They felt that interactivity keeps them active and more attentive in the class, makes the atmosphere more lively and hence results in better understanding of the subject, more retention of the facts and also helps in clearing doubts. The students were satisfied and happy with this new method of learning and suggested that other lectures should also be conducted in a similar manner.


Educational research has shown that active learning is always better than passive learning. Interactivity induces active learning in students thereby imparting its advantages such as a better understanding, more retention, better reproducibility, clarification of doubts and facilitating problem solving, decision making and communication skills. [4],[5] This is particularly important in medical education where the application and use of information is as important as the retention and recall of facts. [6]

We used three different interactive methods such as brainstorming, MCQs, Confusion technique during lecture. Our students liked the MCQs the most followed by brainstorming and confusion test. MCQs in between the lectures break the monotony and activate students' interaction. It is less time consuming, exam oriented and also can act as a problem solving tool. Brainstorming act as a problem based learning, activates the students to think and activate decision making ability. It can make a very good start of the lecture and make it interesting. Confusion technique at the end helps to clear doubts. This is useful especially to students who are scared to ask the doubts in public. It also acts like a small group activity with fun. Though we found that students appreciated MCQs the most, different types of interactivity should be carried out at the appropriate interval as per teacher's discrimination with the basic aim to make the session more interactive. We also introduced the concept of team work during the lecture by dividing the students in groups. Teamwork was highly appreciated by students. Borkar et al. introduced interactivity in community medicine and found that all students were in favor of interactive lecture. The most liked (76%) teaching learning method was a small group discussion. [1]

Various other methods are tried to keep the student engaged during the lecture. Advances in the computer technology have significantly influenced our approach to medical education. A study comparing traditional and interactive teaching methods in a UK emergency department used computer assisted learning (CAL) and revealed that though there was no significant difference in the marks, all CAL users found MCQs assessment useful, compared with 83% of lecture participants. [7] Some researchers have also introduced the electronic voting equipment for lectures to obtain feedback and perceive the benefits of interactive engagement. [8],[9] Interactive teaching is tried by all teacher researchers and it is found that it helps in better understanding and should be incorporated into the curricula for teachers of various fields. [10]


This project clearly proves that interactive teaching is definitely preferred by the students of 2 nd MBBS in learning Pathology. MCQs during the lecture were the most liked method of interactivity. Teacher should take a new role of facilitating the process of interactive learning rather than delivering elaborate lectures.


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