Academic Achievement and Perception of Two Teaching Methods in Histology: Light Microscopy and Digital Systems

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Daniela Becerra G.; Melisa Grob L. P.; Ángel Rodríguez R.; María José Barker M.; Lucas Consiglieri L.; Giorgio Ferri G. & Natividad Sabag S.


With the advent of digital systems, the role of the microscope as an irreplaceable instrument in the practical teaching of histology has been called into question. In this study academic performance and student perception for three learning methods was compared: digital systems, microscopy, and microscopy plus digital systems, in the muscle tissue unit of the morphology course for first-year dentistry at the Universidad de los Andes, Santiago, Chile. Ninety-five students were divided into 3 groups: Group 1: individual optical microscopy, Group 2: digital systems (one projector per room), and Group 3: microscopy plus digital systems. All participants observed the same striate muscle, cardiac striated muscle, and smooth muscle mounts. Their diagnostic capacity was evaluated. A perception test was conducted after everyone had learned with both systems. For data analysis the Kruskal-Wallis test and logistic regression were used. In the cognitive evaluation, the median grades were 4.5 for group 2 and 5.45 for group 3 (Kruskal-Wallis p-value= 0.0023). In the perception survey, 69% of students reported feeling motivated by the use of the microscope and 51% reported that they felt motivated by the use of digital system (p-value= 0.0016). It was concluded that the combined use of optical microscopy and digital systems achieves better performance as compared to the digital system alone. The use of the microscope improves student perception as compared to those using only the digital system.

KEY WORDS: Medical education; Histology; Visual learning; Virtual slides; Microscopy.

How to cite this article

BECERRA, D.; GROB, M.; RODRÍGUEZ, A.; BARKER, M. J.; CONSIGLIERI, L.; FERRI, G. & SABAG, N. Academic achievement and perception of two teaching methods in histology: light microscopy and digital systems. Int. J. Morphol., 33(3):811- 816, 2015.