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This study investigates the efficiency of a novel integrated practical teaching methodology by combination of problem basic learning (PBL) with the physiopathology laboratory practices. The progressive resolution of a clinical case related to the ovarian dysfunction in a simulated environment by performing histological and clinical diagnosis from patients’ biological samples were the basis of learning. The pathophysiological simulation was used as a virtual facilitating the resolution of case in the laboratory teaching practice. We aim that this integrated pedagogic methodology allows students to learn to solve professional reality problems by laboratory exercises and so improve students’ overall understanding pathophysiological concepts. The present pilot experience was carried out in third-year undergraduate in Pathophysiology course of the Pharmacy Curriculum. Groups of 30-36 students were divided into smaller groups (n=3-4).

Students solved the problem posed by:
1) Identification of the phases of the ovarian cycle by histopathological analysis with optic microscopy;
2) Vaginal cytological diagnosis from patients with ovarian dysfunction posed in the problem case;
3) Study of the effects of the administration of estrogen or calcitonin as hormone replacement therapy to ovariectomized rats by using simulation PhysioEX 9.0 software.

We compared two student groups: one group including PBL to conventional teaching and another one without PBL (Non-PBL). The efficiency of PBL inclusion to traditional practical lectures session was evaluated through the academic achievement of the students. Standardized multiple-choice questions examinations about posed patient cases related the pathohistological diagnosis, uterine cervix cytology diagnosis and hormone replacement therapy, respectively, were performed. Also, both pretest and posttest were used to assess the acquired knowledge from novel PBL integrated tool. We found that the use of the PBL integrated teaching model led to a significant improvement in student performance on examinations. The results from the pre- and post-test showed that the students were able to analyze and explain the effects of ovarian dysfunction, discuss the various variables that affect it, analyze the risks of the progression and development of this disease, critique diagnostic testing and determine its relationship to signs and symptoms. In summary, including PBL to the laboratory practical lectures improved the students' academic achievement and enhanced their critical thinking to understand the pathophysiologic principles of the ovarian dysfunction. We believe that the implementation of PBL integrated teaching model improves students’ attitudes toward learning in professional context and could be adopted by instructors in similar courses in other professional grades.

This work is supported by PIMCD 159. Complutense University of Madrid. Spain