gms | German Medical Science

Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA)

05.10. - 08.10.2011, München

The use of electronic flashcards to memorize factual knowledge in medical school: repeated testing improves short-term, but not long-term retention

Vortrag

  • corresponding author presenting/speaker Ralf Schmidmaier - Medizinische Klinik Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, München, Deutschland
  • author Rene Ebersbach - Medizinische Klinik Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, München, Deutschland
  • author Miriam Schiller - Medizinische Klinik Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, München, Deutschland
  • author Inga Hege - Medizinische Klinik Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, München, Deutschland
  • author Matthias Holzer - Medizinische Klinik Innenstadt, Klinikum der Universität München, München, Deutschland
  • author Martin R. Fischer - Universität Witten/Herdecke, Fakultät für Gesundheit, Institut für Didaktik und Bildungsforschung, Witten, Deutschland

Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Medizinische Ausbildung (GMA). München, 05.-08.10.2011. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2011. Doc11gma030

DOI: 10.3205/11gma030, URN: urn:nbn:de:0183-11gma0303

Veröffentlicht: 26. September 2011

© 2011 Schmidmaier et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open Access-Artikel und steht unter den Creative Commons Lizenzbedingungen (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/deed.de). Er darf vervielfältigt, verbreitet und öffentlich zugänglich gemacht werden, vorausgesetzt dass Autor und Quelle genannt werden.


Gliederung

Text

Question: The direct effect of retesting on knowledge retention has been proven in several studies in laboratory settings.

Aim: To explore how important retesting is for medical education in a more realistic educational setting.

Methods: Eighty students of the medical school Munich in their 3rd, 4th, or 5th year participated in a prospective, randomized, double-blinded, controlled study and were exposed to 30 electronic flashcards to memorize factual knowledge regarding clinical nephrology. The items were presented in four cycles each consisting of a study period (S) and a subsequent test period (T). In the restudying group (STN) correctly answered flashcards were eliminated in the subsequent test period, whereas correctly answered flashcards were eliminated in the subsequent study period within the retesting group (SNT). Success in terms of correctly recalled flashcards was assessed at the end of the first experimental day, after one week, and after 6 months. Additionally, personal data, self-reflection regarding the efficacy of learning strategies, and judgements of learning were assessed by questionnaires.

Results: Repeated testing strongly promotes better recall in comparison to repeated studying after one week (p<.001). However, after six months general recall is poor, showing no difference between the retesting and the restudying group. Time on task and number of trials in addition to sex, age, performance, and psycho-social background were balanced between the two groups. Self-rated predictions of students’ performance were not correlated with actual performance.

Conclusion: Repeated testing is the more potent learning strategy with electronic flash cards for short-term but not for long-term knowledge retention in comparison to repeated studying in clinical medical students. Although students use testing as a learning strategy they seem to be unaware of the positive effects on short-term knowledge retention. Electronic flashcards should be presented to students with repeated testing.