BACKGROUND - Seven computer-based Nutrition in Medicine interactive modules for teaching nutrition are available for instruction in medical schools.
OBJECTIVE - The goal of this study was to evaluate the instructional efficacy of the Nutritional Anemias and the Diabetes and Weight Management: Aberrations in Glucose Metabolism modules when used by first-year medical students.
DESIGN - The modules were introduced at Meharry Medical College to enhance its nutrition course for first-year medical students. Eighty medical students used the Anemias and Diabetes modules as an obligatory component of the course. Students were divided into 20 study groups of 4 and were required to answer multiple-choice questions to test their nutrition knowledge before and after use of the module.
RESULTS - On average, students spent 1.89 +/- 0.99 h studying each module, and most students (70%) reported viewing modules in more than one session. The percentage of correct responses to 12 knowledge questions from each module increased from 25% before use of the module to 74% immediately after its use and remained high (59%) 8 mo later. The pattern of knowledge retention, however, had some unpredictability. On the midterm examination, 72% of the students correctly answered questions related to nutritional anemias and nutrition aspects of diabetes. This was a 15% increase in knowledge of these 2 areas when compared with results obtained from first-year medical students 1 y earlier who had not used the modules.
CONCLUSIONS - The modules tested are effective tools for teaching nutritional and health issues of anemias and diabetes to first-year medical students.