Ultrasound simulator vs faculty led class
A new technology in medical education is ultrasound simulation, which has been shown to help students learn while reducing load on clinical instructors. The goal of this study is to compare the efficacy of teaching using ultrasound simulators versus more traditional instructor-led sessions with ultrasound machines. METHODS Ultrasound was used to teach cardiac anatomy and physiology to medical students. Volunteers in one group were instructed using an ultrasound simulator (SonoSim) with built-in lessons; the other group received a traditional faculty-led session with an ultrasound machine. Efficacy of each type of teaching was assessed by measuring improvement from a pre-session test to a post-session test, using a student’s T-test to compare averages between groups. Participants were given a survey to solicit opinions of the lessons. RESULTS Twenty-one medical students participated, with 12 in the traditional teaching group and 9 in the simulator group. Both groups increased their test scores from pre-session to post-session; the average increase was 5% in the traditional group and 10% in the simulator group (p=0.437). There was no statistically significant difference between groups in how effective or enjoyable the lesson felt. Participants from either group who tried both methods were likely to prefer the traditional ultrasound teaching. CONCLUSION Self-guided learning with simulators and traditional instructor-led lectures are both effective for teaching basic cardiac anatomy and physiology via ultrasound. However, most students prefer learning with instructors if given the opportunity. Self-guided ultrasound simulators may serve as an effective standalone learning method or an adjunct to instructor-led sessions.