Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 84-90

Randomized cross-over study and a qualitative analysis comparing virtual microscopy and light microscopy for learning undergraduate histopathology

1 Department of Pathophysiology, Windsor University School of Medicine, St. Kitts and Nevis
2 Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, St. George's University School of Medicine, St. George's, Grenada

Correspondence Address:
Samal Nauhria
Windsor University School of Medicine, P.O. Box 1621, Brighton's Estate, Cayon
St. Kitts and Nevis
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/IJPM.IJPM_241_18

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Background: Virtual microscopy (VM) use in teaching and learning is increasing worldwide. However, there is a paucity of information comparing it to light microscopy (LM) in learning undergraduate histopathology. We investigated whether VM or LM had a higher impact on student learning and performance in histopathology. In addition, we investigated whether students preferred VM over LM, and whether VM use provided a platform to fulfill the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education core competencies. Materials and Methods: We used a sequential exploratory mixed method study design. A qualitative phase inquiring about student preference for VM or LM was followed by a randomized cross-over study. Student preference was measured by an online survey based on a Likert scale. In the cross-over study, students were randomized to either the VM or the LM arm, and their mean scores in standardized exams were compared after using VM and LM. Results: A total of 152 students completed the qualitative study and a total of 64 students participated in the cross-over study. Eighty-three percent (83%) of the students preferred to use VM over LM. Students who used VM scored significantly (P < 0.001) higher [(87.1% vs. 72.4%) and (85.3% vs. 76.1%)], respectively, in both phases of the cross-over study compared to those who used LM. Conclusions: Using VM to learn histopathology has significantly increased student learning and performance compared to using LM.

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