International Journal of Health & Allied Sciences

: 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5--7

Computer-assisted group study for learning/teaching medical entomology to medical students

Sudharsanam Manni Balasubramaniam 
 Department of Community Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical, Sciences and Research (JIPMER), Pudhucherry 605 006, India

Correspondence Address:
Sudharsanam Manni Balasubramaniam
Balaji Hospital, 8 B, Kakkan Street, West Tambaram, Chennai 600 045, Tamil Nadu


Objectives: The objective of this study was to describe an innovative method used for teaching entomology. Setting : It was performed at Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry. Materials and Methods: Fifty-five second year medical students were divided into two batches. Each batch had two sessions on entomology. In each session students were divided into small groups and assigned to prepare on the various insects of medical entomological importance and present on the prepared topic. The topics included vector characteristics, vector habits, diseases transmitted and modes of transmission of diseases, control of vectors. The corresponding photographs of the insects were projected at the end of each presentation. The modes of transmission, diseases transmitted, and control measures were learnt through the oral presentations. After each session students were shown the slides under microscopes to reinforce the features. Pretest and posttest were used to find the gain in knowledge and feedback was taken at the end of each session. Results: Comparison of pretest and posttest scores showed a statistically significant gain in the knowledge. Feedback from students revealed that objectives were clear for 42 of the 55 students. Facilitating factors included interactive session (14), group discussion (31), PowerPoint presentation (24), good moderator (14). Factors which hindered learning were lack of time for preparation (13) and afternoon sessions (2). Students suggested that more of this type of classes should be taken for them in near future (28). Conclusion: This method served as an effective alternative method as judged by students«SQ» performance and feedback.

How to cite this article:
Balasubramaniam SM. Computer-assisted group study for learning/teaching medical entomology to medical students.Int J Health Allied Sci 2012;1:5-7

How to cite this URL:
Balasubramaniam SM. Computer-assisted group study for learning/teaching medical entomology to medical students. Int J Health Allied Sci [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 Jan 28 ];1:5-7
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Vector plays a vital role in disease transmission. In teaching medical students about vectors emphasis is laid on entomology. Usually these classes are planned as lecture and slide demonstration. The problem with this method was that it was difficult to retain the salient features and to demonstrate few differences without pictures. The teachers always found the student to be less attentive and the subject was dry. Observation of students and their feedback has not been impressive. A newer method was necessary to sustain the interest of students and make this topic more interesting. This method was planned keeping in mind the guidelines given by the Medical Council of India in its Revised Regulations of Graduate Medical Education - 1997, which has pointed out the inadequacies of lecture as a method of teaching and has suggested the use of active methods. [1] This method has used a computer PowerPoint presentation and group study to enhance learning of entomology with the vision that active facilitated learning with modern audiovisual aids can facilitate better learning. This method can easily be accepted and implemented in other schools easily to enhance the interest of students.

Objectives of the study

The objective was to increase the knowledge in the topic and enhance student participation in acquiring knowledge in entomology.

The teaching objectives/learning

At the end of the session students should know the importance of the role of the vector in disease causation, the major insects acting as vectors, their bionomics, the diseases transmitted by them, and ways to control the vectors.

 Materials And Methods

This study was a descriptive study. The entire class of second year medical students (around 60) in a JIPMER medical school was involved in this study. The whole class was divided into two batches and two sessions were conducted for each batch. Each session was of 2 hours. In each session, pretest and posttest were conducted. Both the tests had the same questions concerning the vectors, diseases transmitted, breeding habits, and control measures. In the first class a brief general introduction was given about vector, medical entomology, and its importance. Then the whole class was divided into six small groups, each of 4-5 students. The groups were given tasks of finding out the information on various mosquitoes and control measures from materials provided. The materials provided were from various collected websites and text books. The students were helped by the residents for preparation. After preparation time of 45 minutes, the students presented the collected information before everyone. For each insect, the corresponding photographs were projected as a PowerPoint presentation (e.g., differences between anopheles and Culex the pictures of the wings were projected). At the end of each presentation a resident highlighted the important points in the topic. A similar session was conducted for other insects including sand flies, fleas, ticks, and cyclops. Pretest and posttest were conducted for each session which had questions testing the cognitive and psychomotor domains and few were applied in nature. During the entire session students formed small teams and had facilitated discussion about the various subtopics and referred to the websites and books and then they presented the findings - hence had an active facilitated learning. Anonymous structured feedback with open-ended options (objectives clarity, facilitating factors, hindering factors, and suggestions for improvement) was collected from all the students at the end of each session.


The results of the pre- and posttest for both the sessions are given in [Table 1]. The mean difference between pre- and posttest was statistically significant (P<0.05 by a paired t-test). The students gave feedback at the end of each session which is given in [Table 2] and the objectives were clear and methods used were liked by majority of students. Computer usage and active learning were the felt facilitating factors. The short time for presentation was felt as a hindering factor for this learning by few students. They requested for many more interactive and facilitated learning sessions in near future.{Table 1}{Table 2}


Teaching about entomology to undergraduate students has been really a challenge due to the vastness and dryness of the subject. Though lecture was tried as the method of teaching earlier, it failed to create the desired interest in students as observed by our experience in classrooms. This study was undertaken to find an alternative method of teaching this subject to sustain interest of students by using different sources of information including internet and more visualization of the vectors. This study revealed that active learning and facilitated learning can show a statistically significant increase in knowledge scores.

It is already reported that group discussions have been used successfully to teach undergraduate students in community medicine. [2] The feedback from students was equally assuring and was in line with previous studies. It once again revealed the utility of active learning in tough topics.

This study was possible in shorter duration because of lesser students. JIPMER being an institute with a lower annual intake, its staff-student ratio is good; hence this mode of study was possible. It was found that usage of computer and active participation by the students really enhanced learning by other studies. [3] This study again ensured that usage of several A-V media is usually effective. Though this study had the limitation of being without controls it is still deserving as it uses a before and after study design. This will have implications in medical teaching and take it forward in the route of facilitated learning.

This also provided an opportunity for us to interact closely with students and do gross assessments of their knowledge and skills. This work apart from the findings also helped in improving their literature searching skills, reading, and presentation skills.


The computer-assisted group study served as a valuable alternative, innovative, and interesting tool to teach and learn. This method ensured maximum participation by the students.


I sincerely thank the Director, Dean of JIPMER and all faculty members, residents, and students of Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, JIPMER, Puducherry, for their support and cooperation.


1Available from: [Last accessed on 2012 Dec 25].
2Rotti SB, Sudhir B, Viranjini G, Narayan KA. Computer assisted group study for learning/teaching about history of public health to pre-clinical students. Indian J Community Med 2004;29:119-20.
3Yom YH. Integration of Internet-based learning and traditional face-to-face learning in an RN-BSN course in Korea. Comput Inform Nurs 2004;22:145-52.