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Implementing Web Design and Usability Principles in Online Medical Curricula is Associated with Improved Student Utilization and Satisfaction


The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine medical education curriculum includes a series of supplemental online pharmacology modules (“PharmWeb”) that run concurrently with the standard curriculum to introduce first-year students to fundamental principles of pharmacology. Although this voluntary online pharmacology curriculum correlated with higher test scores during the formal, required portion of pharmacology learning in the curriculum, the utilization among medical students of the PharmWeb resource was low. We hypothesized that improving the design and accessibility of the online curriculum using commercial design principles could promote adoption of this voluntary curriculum. The modules were redesigned with a cleaner interface, and convenience of access to each module was enhanced by adding links to relevant modules within required, formative weekly pharmacology multiple choice questions. We report here an increased use of this optional online introduction to pharmacological principles and increased satisfaction in learning pharmacology that correlates with the design intervention.

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Correspondence to Amy L. Wilson-Delfosse.

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Butler, R., Kim, P., Nieman, M. et al. Implementing Web Design and Usability Principles in Online Medical Curricula is Associated with Improved Student Utilization and Satisfaction. Med.Sci.Educ. 25, 255–259 (2015).

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  • Web design
  • Usability
  • Pharmacology
  • E-learning