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Traditional lecture style instructional method is being replaced with innovative approaches that support active and self-directed learning in medical education. Despite increasing literature on novel pedagogies, educators are faced with mixed reviews on the impact of these approaches on the improvement of student learning. We explored student attitudes and measured learning outcomes using the flipped classroom approach within a single organ system module. Second year medical students received video-recorded lectures and handouts on selected pharmacology and pathology topics in the endocrine and reproductive module as learning resources. Students were required to study prior to attending the scheduled in-classroom knowledge application sessions focusing on critical thinking. Analysis of examination data (n = 235) of summative assessments showed 13% improvement in mean exam score of class on the selected topics compared to the previous class taught using traditional lecture approach. Lower 27% of class scored greater on the most difficult exam items compared to the traditional class. Performance of upper 27% students of both classes was found to be comparable on all selected exam items. In our study, the flipped classroom was perceived as a preferred instructional approach for student learning, and seemed to improve learning outcomes primarily of lower performing students on difficult concepts. The findings of this study can be useful in informing ongoing curriculum refinements in medical schools while selecting innovative active learning instructional methods and making best use of them.
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