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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 37--40

Role of concept map in teaching general awareness and pharmacotherapy of HIV/AIDS among second professional medical students

Suman Bala, DC Dhasmana, Juhi Kalra, Saurabh Kohli, Taruna Sharma 
 Department of Pharmacology, HIMS, SRHU, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

Correspondence Address:
Suman Bala
Department of Pharmacology, HIMS, SRHU, Dehradun, Uttarakhand


Objective: Medical students as future doctors will play an important role in caring for HIV-infected patients. This study assessed and evaluated the existing level of knowledge of MBBS students about HIV/AIDS given through lecture delivery methods and by use of concept map (CM). Materials and Methods: This study was carried out on 150 professional MBBS students of tertiary care hospital. A pretest was conducted by giving 10 multiple choice questions (MCQ) of general awareness and 15 questions regarding pharmacotherapy of HIV/AIDS. In between pre- and post-test, a session of 1-week integrated teaching module was organized. After completion of integrated teaching, 2 h session of CM on general awareness and pharmacotherapy of HIV/AIDS was taken. A posttest was conducted using MCQs and problem-based question (PBQ) to assess the effect of integrated teaching and CM on their knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Feedback was also taken from the students to regarding their views about CM. Results: There was a significant increase in student’s score in MCQ test after integrated teaching than pretest (P < 0.05). There was also significant improvement in PBQ score after CM than that of after integrated teaching (P < 0.05). Students’ perception about the effectiveness of CM was positive. Conclusion: CM can make a significant improvement in the knowledge of medical students and were motivated and developed interest in the subject. Key message: Concept maps can be useful tool as add on to lectures and to summarise the topic in an effective way. Concept mapping can make a significant improvement in the knowledge of medical students. The learners get motivated and develop interest in the subject.

How to cite this article:
Bala S, Dhasmana D C, Kalra J, Kohli S, Sharma T. Role of concept map in teaching general awareness and pharmacotherapy of HIV/AIDS among second professional medical students.Indian J Pharmacol 2016;48:37-40

How to cite this URL:
Bala S, Dhasmana D C, Kalra J, Kohli S, Sharma T. Role of concept map in teaching general awareness and pharmacotherapy of HIV/AIDS among second professional medical students. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 May 30 ];48:37-40
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India has the third-largest number of people infected with HIV in the world, as per recent United Nation (UN) report.[1] Health education plays an important role in controlling this epidemic. Doctors, nurses, and health workers are the key persons for disseminating the information between the medical community and general population. Medical students play a major role in highlighting facts and bringing to rest myths about diseases such as HIV/AIDS. An increasing incidence and prevalence of HIV/AIDS have enormous impact on health system; it is important to know the level of knowledge about HIV/AIDS among medical students.

The medical profession has undergone changes in the quantity of knowledge needed to be learned by the student. A major difficulty for the medical teacher is to disseminate adequate information to the students in a more meaningful way.[2] There is a need to introduce new teaching and learning activities to sustain the attention and the interest of students. Implementing newer educational methods that enhance and supplement lectures is a challenge for medical teacher.[3],[4] There is always scope for trying innovative techniques according to the Medical Council of India, under regulations on medical education. Lectures alone are not a sufficient method of teaching.[5]

The concept map (CM) was developed as a tool to organize knowledge and a way of representation.[6] CMs hold great potential for the student in the formulation of new concepts as well as to evaluate the student in relation to learning.[7] Advantage of the CM in medical education courses is the possibility of integrating various frequently fragmented concepts in the cognitive compartments.[8]

Various authors also felt the need for alternative teaching and learning strategies that will enable medical students to retain the majority of information, integrate critical thinking skills, and solve difficult clinical problems. Earlier research has indicated that CMs may be one such teaching and learning strategy.[9] Evidence in the literature suggests that CM is useful for better understanding of the subject, retaining information, and improving student’s performance.[10],[11],[12]

In problem-based learning (PBL) teaching, the process of case development is described in a study, in which students used CMs for the development of their basic learning.[13] Faculties also developed the CMs to write PBL cases and made available to students to reinforce concept themes.[14] Students using CMs for their study and revision would perform better on their assessment tasks.[15]

Generally, medical students perceive pharmacology as a difficult subject, and more so in teaching pharmacotherapy of HIV/AIDS, different drug targets and drug regimens are involved, which are difficult to remember. Therefore, there is always need to introduce innovative techniques, to make it an easily understandable subject. The study is done to evaluate the existing level of knowledge given to MBBS students about HIV/AIDS through lecture delivery methods or by use of CM after the integrated teaching.

 Materials and Methods

The present study was carried out on 150 professional MBBS students of tertiary care hospital. Prior approval was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee. Students were briefed about the purpose of the study and informed written consent was obtained. A pretest was conducted by giving 10 questions of general awareness and 15 questions regarding pharmacotherapy of HIV/AIDS. One-week session of integrated teaching was organized to teach the topic. Integrated teaching module was taken by all streams of medical professionals. After completion of integrated teaching, posttest comprising multiple choice questions (MCQs) and problem-based question (PBQ) was taken.

A two-hour session of CM using Preprepared CM on general awareness and pharmacotherapy of HIV and AIDS was taken. A posttest was conducted using MCQs and PBQ to assess their knowledge. Participant feedback regarding their views about CM was taken using five-point Likert’s scale.

Analysis of Data

We analyzed the data using SPSS version 22 (SPSS South Asia Pvt. Ltd., Bengaluru, Karnataka, India). Marks obtained in MCQ and PBQ after integrated teaching and by CM were compared using Student’s t-test. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.


Out of 150 students, only 124 students appeared for the tests. The pre- and post-test scores of integrated teaching and after the CM when compared were found to be statistically significant (P < 0.05) [Figure 1]. In the pretest, 32% students scored below 20% marks. Fifty-eight percent had <40%. In the posttest evaluation, 60% students scored between 40% and 60% marks and 39% scored between 70% and 100% marks [Table 1].{Figure 1}{Table 1}

The posttest scores of integrated teaching and CM were compared by paired t-test, which was found to be significant (P < 0.05) [Table 2]. A significant improvement was seen in MCQ and PBQ scores in both general awareness and pharmacotherapy of HIV after CM as compared to integrated teaching [Figure 2]. In PBQ, performance was found higher (60%) after the CM session than after integrated teaching (32%) P < 0.001 [Table 2].{Figure 2}{Table 2}

Student’s perception on CM sessions was recorded using a prevalidated questionnaire. Out of 124 students, 107 (87%) opined that CM improved their learning [Table 3].{Table 3}


It is important for medical students to understand, relate the relevant medical concepts, and linked them to the prior knowledge. Medical teachers are now required to apply teaching methodologies that facilitate deep meaningful learning rather than memorize by rote.

In our study, integrated teaching module was followed by CM session so that students able to integrate basic and integrated information through CM. It was also suggested in literature that meaningful learning occurs when the student links new knowledge with previous knowledge thus creating integrated cognitive knowledge.[16]

We used CMs used during the session as Preprepared CMs offer alternative and innovative learning and teaching opportunities in large classes.[17]

In the present study, there was a significant improvement in the test score after integrated teaching (59%) as compared to pretest (33%) as shown in [Figure 1]. In pretest, 90% of the students scored below 40% and 10% of them scored above the 60%. At this stage, without any formal teaching, we can say students have some knowledge about the topic. In posttest, most of the students (60.4%) were above 40% followed by 33% were above 60% [Table 1]. Similarly, significant results were obtained in a study using integrated teaching.[17]

We found that there was a remarkable change in the MCQ score after the session of CM on general awareness (77%) and pharmacotherapy of HIV and AIDS (80%) compared to posttest after the end of lectures taken in integrated teaching 67% and 51%, respectively [Figure 2]. Studies also mentioned CM assessment scores improved after CM course instructions.[9],[18],[19]

In the current study with the use of CM, there was a significant improvement in the percentage of PBQ score based on pharmacotherapy of HIV and AIDS (P < 0.001) and also improvement in MCQ score [Figure 2]. Similar findings were shown in a study of problem-solving examination versus a multiple-choice examination. Findings indicated that the group using CMs performed significantly better on PBQ and performance on MCQ was similar to the traditional group.[20] In our study, the improvement in the MCQ and PBQ may be due to the reinforcement of topic through CM teaching.

Successful use of CM in the PBL was demonstrated in a study of experimental group and control group. Experimental group scored significantly higher.[21] similarly, improvement in meaningful learning in PBL course by use of CMs.[22]

To solve PBQ, students should connect descriptive knowledge with procedural knowledge and cross-linkages in their knowledge structures, which will benefit clinical reasoning in the future.[23] PBL and CM have been proven to be complementary tools because the way of information collection, hypothesis generation, and identification of learning issues allowed for an exposure of wider knowledge through the use of CMs.[22]

Student feedback: Frequent feedbacks may help teachers plan the curriculum and improve upon the teaching and assessment methods. Students (90%) were enthusiastic about the new teaching methodology, and 88% prefer CM as teaching method add on to theoretical lecture. Eighty-seven percent opined that this method helped them to learn better as it summarizes key ideas about HIV/AIDS. Eighty-eight percent candidates agree that class activity engages their interest [Table 3].

A study in a Medical School in Australia also found that 87% of the students agreed that CM was helpful in making links, 87% found it enjoyable, for 93%, it is a helpful tool in revision, and 97% admitted that it provides valuable learning.[24]


This study has revealed that the students have improved in their learning by virtue of CM. The students showed enthusiasm toward the new teaching methodology. CM can be a useful tool as add on lectures and also to summarize the topic in an effective way.


The authors acknowledge the help of Drs. Madhuri, Amit, Rajit, Sanjay, Nazuk, and Shresth. Residents of Department of Pharmacology for Smooth conduction of the integrated teaching and CM session.

Financial Support and Sponsorship

This study was financially supported by Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, Dehradun.

Conflicts of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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