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Abstract Details

Investigating the Impact of Virtual Versus In-Person Small Group Discussion on Academic Performance in a First-Year Medical Neuroscience Course
Education, Research, and Methodology
S10 - Utilizing Varied Modalities to Impact Learning and Make Curricular Changes (3:54 PM-4:06 PM)
Incorporating virtual instruction into the medical curriculum has been a longstanding subject of study and has increasingly been required due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous literature suggests that exchange and communication patterns during learning may be stunted on virtual platforms. In 2021, for the pre-clinical neuroscience course, the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine gave students the choice to engage in small group sessions either in-person or virtually. These sessions have been used to facilitate case discussions to reinforce course material.
We aimed to determine if academic performance was different in students who self-selected to participate in virtual small group discussions, compared to students who engaged in traditional in-person small group discussions, in a first-year medical school neuroscience course.
This is a retrospective analysis of academic performance in the 2021 neuroscience course. Students self-selected to participate either in-person or virtually for small group discussions. Academic performance was measured by scores on the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) shelf exam and professor-written final exam, as well as weighted final course grades. Unpaired t-tests were used to compare data from the two cohorts.
Of the 51 students, 23 chose the in-person cohort and 27 chose the virtual cohort. One student switched cohorts part way through the course and was excluded from analysis. Overall, when comparing the in-person and virtual cohorts, there was no difference in scores for the NBME shelf exam (87.13% vs 85.33%, p = 0.48), professor-written final exam (87.13% vs 86.22%, p = 0.55), or weighted course grades (87.56% vs 87.09%, p = 0.71). 
Students who self-selected to engage in virtual discussions of neuroscience course material performed comparably to their in-person counterparts. This suggests that virtual platforms may be appropriate for holding small group discussions within the medical curriculum. 
Aimen Vanood, MD (Mayo Clinic Arizona)
Dr. Vanood has nothing to disclose.
Nikita Chhabra, DO (Mayo Clinic) Dr. Chhabra has nothing to disclose.
Matthew T. Hoerth, MD, FAAN (Mayo Clinic Arizona) Dr. Hoerth has a non-compensated relationship as a Epilepsy.com Editorial Board member with the Epilepsy Foundation of America that is relevant to AAN interests or activities.