M. Sefein1, D. khin Saw Naing2, P. Ramasamy2

1Universiti Malisia Sabah (MALAYSIA)
2Universiti Malysia sabah, School of Medicine (MALAYSIA)
Vestibular physiology and pathology is a challenging theme in the medical curriculum due to its complex spatial structure and unique function. Medical Schools traditionally use graphics , animations, clips , anatomical models and power point presentations to explain it. Recently, 3D models software had been developed as an effective simulation to enhance realism. Yet, these electronic based teaching aids are not user friendly and costly. Thus the authors attempted to construct an active, economical and easy-to-maintain simulation of the vestibular system.
This teacher-made model was constructed to resemble the 2 components of inner ear namely cochlea and vestibular duct. As an active model, the structures appear in the normal healthy state. In second stage of simulation , it is converted into a condition simulating Meniere’s disease . This is simulated by using a manual pump to induce the state of hydrops (accumulation of fluid in the inner ear). The consequences of hydrops state will be recognized as shining indicators and heard as an alarm. This new model helps the students to acquire spatial awareness and allow for assimilation of this awareness into clinical practice. This simulation facilitates Knowledge Translation (KT) process to enhance the application of research-based knowledge in actual practice.
To measure the efficacy of this simulation in enhancing medical students’ understanding, an educational experiment was attempted with the second year medical students. A 90-minutes teaching session on physiological basis of human balance and disorders of human balance was the field of experiment. The students with matched academic achievement profiles were randomly allocated into three groups. They were provided with identical reading materials, but were encouraged to study the topic in different ways. No formal didactic instruction was given to Group B and C while Group A received lecture. Group B was allowed to study with the model and Group C studied the hand-out materials individually without models. Their understanding on the basic concepts of human balance was assessed by means of multiple-choice and short-answer questions immediately after the session and again one week later. The results showed that the model-assisted group performed significantly better in both assessments (immediate and delayed) (p <0.005).
It was thus concluded that the hydrops model had significantly helped the cognitive issues concerning balance. Also the simulation process enhanced the understanding of the hydrops phenomenon. Accordingly , it is recommended to encourage the concept of teacher-made models, whenever there is a perceived need to address any specific conceptual problems. This approach of utilizing teacher-made models is a perfect solution to overcome the high cost and/or non-availability of appropriate commercial models.