Abstract

Introduction: This study explores the utility of and attitude towards medical learning applications (MLAs) among undergraduate students of medicine in Cluj-Napoca and the use of these apps in finding solutions to five case-based medical scenarios. Materials and methods: A cross-sectional design using an online survey was conducted between June 8th and July 19th, 2019. The English/Romanian students were personally invited to participate in the survey via social media platforms (Facebook/WhatsApp student groups). A three-section questionnaire was developed to anonymously collect demographic data, study habits and the answers to the five case-based medical scenarios. Results: Ninety-three students between the age of 19 and 50 (median 24 years) participated. Most of the responding students (81.7%) were in the clinical years of study and studied up to 3 hours per day (67.7%). The use of MLAs ≥2 hours per day is reported by 18.3% of respondents. The MLAs were mainly used for studying throughout the semester (69.1%); 30.9% of the students used MLAs only for their exam preparation. The top-three MLAs were ‘AMBOSS’ (30/93), ‘Medscape’ (9/93) and ‘Dr. Najeeb Lectures’ (6/93). In around half of the cases, the students paid for the MLA (46.4%). The maximum obtainable score (6 points) in the clinical cases was reached only by 3 students without significant differences between the scores of those students who used or did not use resources (MLAs, books, other) to find the case solutions (Mann-Whitney test P=0.594, median of correct answers = 3 for both groups) or between the scores of those who used or did not use MLAs for learning (P=0.594, median of correct answers = 3 for both groups). Conclusion: One third of the participating students used MLAs but this is not reflected in the number of correctly answered clinical cases.

Keywords

Medical Learning Application (MLA), Learning resources, Undergraduate, Educational technologies, Problem-Based Learning