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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 51-56

Efficacy of an online course in developing competency for prescribing balanced diet by medical students: A non - inferiority trial


1 Additional Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Kollam, Kerala, India
2 Scientist E, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India
3 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Kollam, Kerala, India
4 Professor and Head, Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Kollam, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Zinia T Nujum
Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Kollam, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_1248_20

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Background: In the COVID era, medical education has been hit hard. Paradoxically, the need for health professionals has increased. Online methods are being widely used, but its efficacy is rarely measured. Objectives: This study was conducted to find the efficacy of an online course in developing competency among medical students to prescribe balanced diet. Methods: An online module was hosted at https://drzinia.moodlecloud.com/. A noninferiority trial was conducted among voluntary participants of the third MBBS students, in 2019. Stratified block randomization was done, so that ten students were allocated to the intervention arm of online sessions and ten students were allocated to the control arm of classroom sessions. Pretest assessments, seven assessments related to sessions conducted, and a postassessment were done. Generalized estimating equations were done to adjust for the effects of other confounders and see whether the intervention was a significant determinant of ability to prescribe balanced diet. Results: Baseline variables were comparable in the two groups. The pretest scores were not significantly different in the two groups. The mean total marks scored by the online group (47.33/70) was not significantly different (t=0.68; p=0.50) from that of the class room group (45.70/70). The posttest scores were significantly higher than the pretest scores. Ninety-percent of students in the online course agreed that they could effectively learn through an online course. Conclusion: Online teaching is effective to learn the prescription of balanced diet. Similar efforts in other domains can make medical education evidence based in the current scenario.


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