Document Type : Original Article



BACKGROUND: Experiential learning sessions as a teaching aid have been applied early in the
medical undergraduate curriculum to improve the knowledge and inculcate research interest. We
compared the ability of 1st‑year medical undergraduates to answer the molecular biology questions
among those who had attended the experiential learning sessions of molecular biology techniques
versus those who did not attend.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A randomized controlled trial was carried out with 200 1st‑year medical
undergraduates, among whom 69 students were selected by simple random sampling for the
demonstration of the molecular biology techniques, such as isolation of genomic DNA, polymerase
chain reaction, cell culture techniques, western blotting, and high‑performance liquid chromatography
for 1‑week duration. Student’s feedback was collected on a five‑point Likert sc ale at the end of the
session to understand how they agree or disagree with a particular statement. The content validity
rate (CVR) and content validity index (CVI) of the questionnaire were determined, and its internal
consistency was examined by Cronbach’s alpha. The internal assessment marks of these students,
valued by faculty who were blinded to their training sessions, were compared with the rest of the
131 students by independent t‑test to know the outcome of these experiential learning sessions.
RESULTS: On CVR and CVI assessment, all the questions scored more than 0.70 and 0.85,
respectively. Cronbach’s alpha for the whole questionnaire was 0.85. Student’s feedback indicated
that these sessions did complement the cognitive skills acquired for these techniques. We also
found a statistically significant improvement (P = 0.006) in the examination performance between
the students who attended versus those who did not attend the experiential learning sessions.
CONCLUSION: Experiential learning, through demonstration and hands‑on experience, enhance d
the learning of molecular biology techniques among 1st‑year medical undergraduates.


  1. Vitale I. Molecular biology. In: Reference Module in Life Sciences.
    Italy: Elsevier; 2017. Available from: http://www.sciencedirect.
    com/science/article/pii/B9780128096338123817. [Last accessed
    on 2020 May 21].
    2. Robinson BW, Erle DJ, Jones DA, Shapiro S, Metzger WJ,
    Albelda SM, et al. Recent advances in molecular biological
    techniques and their relevance to pulmonary research. Thorax
    3. Beilby J. Diagnostic molecular biology. Clin Biochem Rev
    4. Ronai I. How the Techniques of Molecular Biology are Developed
    from Natural Systems. SocArXiv 2018;‑. Available from: https:// [Last accessed on 2020 May 21].
    5. Friedlander MJ. Commentary: Learning by doing biomedical
    research‑value added for medical education? Med Sci Educ
    6. Bates AW. 3.6 Experiential learning: Learning by doing. In:
    Teaching in a Digital Age. Tony Bates Associates Ltd; 2015.
    Available from:
    chapter/4‑4‑models‑for‑teaching‑by‑doing/. [Last accessed on
    2020 May 22].
    7. Bosnjak H, Pavelic K, Kraljevic Pavelic S. Towards preventive
    medicine. High‑throughput methods from molecular biology are
    about to change daily clinical practice. EMBO Rep 2008;9:1056‑60.
    8. Dwivedi S, Purohit P, Misra R, Pareek P, Goel A, Khattri S, et al.
    Diseases and molecular diagnostics: A step closer to precision
    medicine. Indian J Clin Biochem 2017;32:374‑98.
    9. Katoh M. Great challenges in molecular medicine: Toward
    personalized medicine. Front Cell Dev Biol 2013;1: doi. 10.3389/
    fcell. 2013.00001
  2. 10. Wolyniak MJ, Bemis LT, Prunuske AJ. Improving medical
    students’ knowledge of genetic disease: A review of current
    and emerging pedagogical practices. Adv Med Educ Pract
    11. Begum J, Ali SI, Panda M. Introduction of Interactive Teaching
    for Undergraduate Students in Community Medicine. Indian J
    Community Med 2020;45:72‑6.
    12. Lupi CS, Lefevre F, Ward‑Peterson M. Evidence‑based medicine
    skills that last: A transferable model utilizing integration, spaced
    learning, and repetition with a single study design among
    second‑year medical students. Med Ed Publish 2017;6: doi.
    10.15694/mep. 2017.000221.
    13. Zee M, de Boer M, Jaarsma AD. Acquiring evidence‑based
    medicine and research skills in the undergraduate medical
    curriculum: Three different didactical formats compared. Perspect
    Med Educ 2014;3:357‑70.
    14. Burgoyne LN, O’Flynn S, Boylan GB. Undergraduate medical
    research: The student perspective. Med Educ Online 2010;15: doi.
    15. Ibrahim Abushouk A, Nazmy Hatata A, Mahmoud Omran I,
    Mahmoud Youniss M, Fayez Elmansy K, Gad Meawad A.
    Attitudes and perceived barriers among medical students towards
    clinical research: A cross‑sectional study in an Egyptian Medical
    School 2016. J Biomed Educ Hindawi 2016;:e5490575. doi.https://
    16. Möller R, Shoshan M. Medical students’ research productivity
    and career preferences; a 2‑year prospective follow‑up study.
    BMC Med Educ 2017;17:51.