Learning on line using WIKI technology: A pilot study in a pediatric clerkship
Anthony J. Frisby, Thomas Jefferson University and J Lindsey Lane, Thomas Jefferson University

DATE: April 2008

RELATED URL: http://www.aamc.org/members/gea/regions/negea/start.htm

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Methods Students on the Pediatric Clerkship at Jefferson Medical College research case-vignettes in 20 topic areas and discuss their answers in small group with a faculty facilitator to achieve the learning objectives. Using the Blackboard course management system and Learning Objects TeamsLx software one topic area, with 10 case vignettes, was transferred to on line learning and piloted by 14 students divided into 5 groups. Instructions for use of the WIKI communication forum were provided on-line. Each group was assigned 2 case-vignettes. Outcomes data was obtained from questionnaires and student interviews.

Results: No student had prior experience with online learning. Although students reported the WIKI as ‘easy to use’ none used it for sharing and collaboration; they used email, phone or in person communication instead. Positives of the WIKI compared to small group format were: high quality, in depth answers; excellent learning from reading the answers; ability to work anytime, anywhere. Negatives were: time – students estimated they spent 5 times as long researching and writing their answers; clinical thinking was not learned as well; social interaction was missing; answers were too detailed and took a long time to read. Students indicated they would like to have online activities such as this as part of their clerkship.

Conclusions: On-line instruction on how to use a WIKI was insufficient for this group of students. Further research needs to be done on depth versus breadth of learning, time on task, clinical thinking, social interaction and collaboration using WIKI on line learning.