Didactic lectures and interactive sessions in small groups: A comparative study among undergraduate students of pharmacology in India

U. P. Rathnakar, H. N. Gopalakrishna, P. G. Pai, S. D. Ullal, S. Pemminati, M. R.S.M. Pai, R. Shastry, A. Shenoy

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Context: Small group teaching is considered to be more effective than didactic lectures. But is it sufficient just to reduce the size of the class? This study examines the effectiveness of two styles of teaching among a small group of students. Aim: To study and compare the effectiveness of two teaching methods in Pharmacology: Didactic lectures and interactive sessions in a small group of undergraduate students of physiotherapy. Settings: Five topics of Pharmacology on antimicrobial agents were taught by the didactic lecture method in five consecutive classes of one hour each and another five classes were conducted by interactive sessions, both by the same teacher to a group of twelve students of Physiotherapy of Manipal University. At the end of each class, the students were tested by a multiple choice type of questionnaire. Students also answered the same questionnaire in groups of four. The mean marks of each student were compared by using the Student's t-test for statistical significance. Results: Difference in the mean marks scored by students in the didactic lecture group and in interactive sessions was found to be statistically significant. The difference in the mean marks obtained by individual students and the mean marks obtained in groups with the didactic lecture method were statistically significant [P<0.001], whereas the difference in the mean marks obtained by individual students and the mean marks obtained in groups when taught by interactive sessions were not significant [P>0.30]. Conclusions: The present study demonstrates that interactive sessions are responsible for the effectiveness of small group teaching. The results have also shown the importance of studying in groups to solve problems and to find answers in preparing for examinations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2260-2264
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11-06-2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Biochemistry

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