Medicine education is a vast and continuously evolving with appropriate medical curriculum required to support the learning process of medical students. Nowadays, many curriculum models are developed and used in medical education. However, the development of a new curriculum model must be accompanied by an evaluation process to obtain feedback and adjust the curriculum regularly.
This research was conducted at a medical education institution with a bachelor’s degree medical program, which carried out two curriculum models as part of the transition period following the curriculum redesign process. The old curriculum gives material in one full semester with integrated modules and the new curriculum with a cluster system (1-2 basic courses offered in a certain period) and system-organ blocks.
Currently, there are still no studies comparing the old curriculum and new curriculum in terms of retention capacity. So this is our basis to find out which curriculum model supports medical students in terms of retention capacity.
We used two groups of students (2nd year and 3rd year) as a sample in this study. The chosen subject is Clinical Pathology. This topic is one of the necessary medical science materials given at relatively the same time to both groups.
In the first group (3rd-year students), clinical Pathology courses are given for 14 weeks, along with seven other subjects. Whereas in the second group (2nd-year students), Clinical Pathology courses are provided for six weeks along with one other course. The material and method of examination evaluation between the first and second groups are the same.
Retention tests were conducted five months after the two groups had completed the Clinical Pathology course. This test consists of 25 multiple choice questions that cover the entire Clinical Pathology material. Correct answers will be given a value of +1, and there are no penalties for blank or incorrect answers. The fundamental difference between a retention test and a final course exam is a retention test; the questions are aimed at testing students’ understanding of Clinical Pathology material. This test does not assess the ability of students to memorize the topic.
The retention test was attended by 280 students, consisting of 138 3rd year students and 142 2nd year students. From the test results, it was found that the mean retention test scores in the first group were significantly higher than the second group (10.93 ± 3.57 vs. 8.56 ± 3.19, p
Based on the above results, it can be concluded that the ability of the retention of knowledge about the clinical pathology of students in the first group is better than the second group. Some of the things that we suspect cause differences between the first group and the second group are: (1) Load of material and available time, (2) Number of courses carried out simultaneously, and (3) Other factors that affect individual learning experiences.
Regarding the material load and the time needed to process it, there is a cognitive load theory proposed by Merriënboer et al. (2010). It was stated that the human brain only has limited capacity to store information in a moment (working memory) in a certain period. For data to be processed into long-term memory, repetition is needed so that working memory is not ignored or forgotten, but is converted to long-term memory.
The variation in the number of courses given in parallel can also affect student retention abilities. With the increasing number of courses, students are expected to be able to integrate the knowledge gained from one course to another, so they get a general picture of the material they are learning.
Besides, other factors that play a role are individual learning experiences. Such as (1) Individual factors consisting of motivation, learning routines, and habits of repeating material after lecture; (2) teaching factors such as teaching style, guidance given by instructors, and the use of instruments in the teaching process; (3) Learning environment; and (4) Other factors such as family problems or health problems.
The medical curriculum model may have a significant impact on the capacity of medical student retention capacity. To have better retention capabilities, we must consider the material and time to process it. (*)
Authors: Jovian Philip Swatan, Fundhy Sinar Ikrar Prihatanto, Nancy Margarita Rehatta, and Journal articles can be accessed through the following pages: