Long Case or Case Vignettes: A Comparison of Two Instructional Methods in Inpatient Geriatrics for Medical Students

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The varied, atypical manifestations of geriatric syndromes make knowledge transfer the ability to extend knowledge from one context to another a particularly relevant concept. The authors hypothesized that multiple, contrasting short cases, by facilitating knowledge transfer, would improve knowledge more than a single long case in geriatric medicine. The authors’ objective was to assess the impact of two instructional methods (a single long case vs. contrasting short cases) on knowledge and knowledge retention among 3rd-year medical students on their Internal Medicine-Geriatrics Clerkship. They participated in the curriculum which consisted of four weekly mandatory sessions covering five content areas based on a systematic needs assessment. Instructional method alternated by month. Knowledge and knowledge retention were measured using an online multiple-choice question test administered before, immediately after, and one year following the curriculum. Students also completed a demographic survey prior to the curriculum and an evaluation of the curriculum following the curriculum. There was significant improvement in test scores from pre- to postcurriculum in both groups that persisted one year after the experience with no significant differences between the two groups. The two case-based instructional methods resulted in significant and enduring knowledge improvement, but one method was not better than the other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-184
Number of pages24
JournalGerontology and Geriatrics Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2015


  • curriculum
  • geriatrics
  • inpatient
  • medical students


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