Teaching undergraduates about familial breast cancer: comparison of a computer assisted learning (CAL) package with a traditional tutorial approach

Zofia Helena Miedzybrodzka, Neil McLeod Hamilton, Benedict Jon Milner, Jill Ann Mollison, Neva Elizabeth Haites, H. Gregory, Iciar Frade, T. Sinclair

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16 Citations (Scopus)


We have developed a computer assisted learning package for teaching clinical medical students about familial breast cancer. It explains the principles of genetic predisposition to breast cancer, the association with other cancers, the principles of family history taking and confirmation, risk assessment and possible interventions. Clinical medical students were randomised to either conventional teaching or CAL, 48 students attended the evaluation session. Students randomised to conventional teaching received a 20 min mini-lecture, those randomised to CAL completed the package with technical, but not academic support available. At the end of the intervention both groups of students completed a short written assessment of acceptability and knowledge and understanding of breast cancer genetics. There was no significant difference between the CAL and mini-lecture groups in terms of marks or acceptability. Thus CAL appears to be an acceptable and effective method of teaching clinical medical students about familial breast cancer. Although time consuming to develop, CAL can be used in a variety of settings to increase curriculum flexibility. Methods of motivating students to complete the CAL, and of providing educational support are being explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-956
Number of pages3
JournalEJHG : European journal of human genetics : the official journal of the European Society of Human Genetics.
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2001


  • breast cancer
  • genetics
  • CAL
  • teaching
  • evaluation
  • C&IT

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