Flashcards: The Preferred Online Game-Based Study Tool Self-Selected by Students to Review Medical Histology Image Content

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Medical students use several supplementary digital resources to support learning. Majority of these supplementary resources enhance learning by recall and repetition. A few examples of these resources are concept maps, flashcards (FCs), and self-testing tools. Traditionally, paper-based FCs are used in higher education. The concept of paper-based FCs is extended to the digital world in the form of electronic/web-based FCs. The use of electronic/digital flashcards has been reported to review course material in the medical school curriculum. Some of the medical school coursework requires students to acquire visual skills, for example, histology and pathology. Students, who do not have prior knowledge of the basic content on histology and pathology struggle to identify microscopic tissues and organs. Therefore, students look for other supplementary resources to support visual learning. Digital resources like Anki, Quizlet, and Osmosis provide study tools that support visual skills. A review of the literature revealed only a few publications pertaining to the use of digital testing tools for histology education in medical school curriculum. In the medical histology course at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Einstein), Bronx, NY, first-year medical students used a game-based platform (Quizlet) to review image-based histology course content in the form of four Quizlet study sets. Students chose from six Quizlet study tools (Flashcards, Learn, Speller, Test, Match, and Race/Gravity) to review the image-based course material and test their knowledge on accurate identification of histological images. The data on student usage of study tools was tracked and analyzed for 4 years (Graduating Classes of 2018 to 2021) to calculate: the total usage of the game-based study tools (Flashcards, Learn, Speller, Test, Match, and Race/Gravity) over the period of 4 years, total percent usage over 4 years of each game-based study tools (Flashcards, Learn, Speller, Test, Match, and Race/Gravity) in each of the four Quizlet study sets and to identify the preferred game-based study tool. The data showed a consistent year-on-year increase in usage of game-based study tools by 50% (M = 445 in 2018 compared to M = 849 in 2021). For the four Quizlet study sets the percent usage of each study tool Flashcards, Learn, Test, Match, Gravity, and Speller was tracked and combined across the four academic years. It was found that Flashcards were used significantly more frequently than any other tool and this was followed by Learn, Test, Match, Gravity, and Speller (p < 0.0001 using chi-square). The study concludes that flashcards are the preferred study tool used by students to acquire visual skills for identifying histological images and could be incorporated when designing online study tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
PublisherSpringer
Pages209-224
Number of pages16
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Volume1406
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019

Keywords

  • Flashcards
  • Game-based study tools
  • Medical histology
  • Visual skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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