Periodic review sessions contribute to student learning across the disciplines in pharmacology.

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Orla Patricia Barry
Eleanor O'Sullivan
Marian McCarthy



Background: The teaching of the discipline of pharmacology is in constant flux. In order to meet the challenges of teaching pharmacology effectively we investigated a new teaching and learning strategy. Aim: Our aim was to investigate whether structured periodic review sessions could improve teaching and learning for students in a multidisciplinary undergraduate pharmacology module. Methods: Following each lecture students were asked to identify topics of difficulty in pharmacology using the one minute paper classroom assessment technique (CAT).  Three review sessions were then introduced based on the problematic issues identified by students. They completed a pre- and post-review session MCQ examination to gauge improvements in their learning. Feedback was obtained from students at the end of the module regarding the acceptability, advantages and limitations of the CATs and the review sessions. Results: There was active participation by students in all thirteen CATs (71.15% ± 1.2%), three review sessions (78.3% ± 1.6%) and the end of module questionnaire (81%).  A significant increase in student learning across all disciplines was observed in all three review sessions (**, p<0.01; ***,p<0.001 and **, p<0.01 for review sessions 1-3 respectively). The majority of students (99%) expressed the opinion that the review sessions enhanced their learning of pharmacology. A limitation expressed by some students was the necessity to complete multiple CATs to support each of the three review sessions. Conclusion: Strategically structured student directed review sessions which are carefully designed and executed are an interesting and effective educational tool for improving and complementing student learning across the disciplines in pharmacology.


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Barry, O., O’Sullivan, E., & McCarthy, M. (2014). Periodic review sessions contribute to student learning across the disciplines in pharmacology. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 15(1), 38-56.