Spinal cord injury computer-assisted instruction for medical students.

OBJECTIVE: To determine if a computer-assisted instruction program would improve fourth-year medical students’ knowledge base related to spinal cord injury, as determined by pretest and posttest scores.

DESIGN: A multimedia computer-assisted instruction program was developed and offered on a volunteer basis to an entire class of fourth-year medical students (n = 168). Effectiveness of the instructional content was evaluated with pretests and posttests, and overall user satisfaction with the module was assessed with the courseware evaluation.

RESULTS: The responses yielded 83 sets of completed pretest and posttest pairs and 80 sets of fully completed courseware evaluations. Mean posttest score was significantly higher than the mean pretest score (pretest, 6.65 +/- 1.44, vs. posttest, 7.36 +/- 1.38; df = 82, t = -4.74, P < 0.001). Courseware evaluations yielded positive ratings in all areas, including applicability and usability.

CONCLUSIONS: The significantly increased posttest scores suggest that the students left the program with an expanded knowledge base in the content areas of spinal cord injury medicine covered in the computer-assisted instruction program.