ParticiPoll-Based Research Studies Improved Retention in Lectures

Professor Charles Maxfield, MD, Chief of Pediatric Radiology at Duke University and his colleagues have been conducting research into active learning over passive learning. The team have chosen ParticiPoll as an interactive learning tool for their research. ParticiPoll co-founder Ben Ravilious spoke to Professor Maxwell….




BR: Tell me about your background and the area of research you work in

CM: Our research team is comprised of faculty of an academic radiology department. We take great pride in our training of radiology residents, fellows, and medical students. We are trying to find the best ways to teach them in the optimized learning environment.


BR: What led you to conduct this research into audience interaction?

CM: For years, most formal teaching of residents was provided in the form of didactic lectures. We have come to realize that, while the didactic lecture may be the best way to teach, it’s not the best way to learn. A study we published recently (Pamarthi, V., Grimm, L., Johnson, K. and Maxfield, C., 2019. Hybrid Interactive and Didactic Teaching Format Improves Resident Retention and Attention Compared to Traditional Lectures. Academic Radiology. 26(9), p.1269-1273) showed that an interactive teaching method resulted in better short and long term retention of material as compared to traditional didactic lectures. Now we taking a step further to try and figure out why interactive teaching is better.


BR: Tell me about the study you are now pursuing

CM: We have shown, as others have, that keeping a learner engaged improves attention and retention of material. The traditional way of keeping a radiology resident or medical student engaged has been by asking them to answer questions, or discuss a case, in front of their peers. The risk of embarrassment in front of their peers may improve attention, but this comes at a cost: it is stressful. Participoll has the potential to keep our learners engaged, without the stress of potential embarrassment. Our current study is to compare these two methods to see if keeping our learners’ attention using Participoll, is as effective as calling on them to take a case in front of their peers.