N. Shantakumari

Gulf Medical University (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
Advances in technology have led to technological innovation in terms of the instructional materials and delivery systems available in classrooms. One of the consequences of this has been the replacement of animal based laboratories with computer based simulations. This pedagogical approach has the advantages of being less costly in terms of time and money, more accessible for self study, ability to repeat intervention, ability to access and alter variables in isolation and needing less expert time for implementation. The decision to implement different methods in teaching and learning could be done by a thorough analysis of their advantages and disadvantage. As Medical Educators we need to look beyond benefit s of this intervention in terms of cost or time required for implementation and look closely at the educational impact of this change. The key question is not whether one method is equal to the other but, rather, how well a given method promotes learning. This paper reviews the declining trend of animal use in undergraduate medical laboratories, the cause of this trend, a comparison of the educational advantages of computer simulations and animal laboratories on the basis of principles of teaching and learning, and the guidelines to select and implement the appropriate pedagogical approach.