Background: Case studies are often used to supplement lecture material to students of psychology. Recent research on the use of online support forums has been shown to be more effective in increasing student attainment of course learning objectives than the use of case studies.
Objective: The current research replicated two studies on the use of online support forums and extended this work to chronic pain and compared midterm exam scores from two different semesters when case studies and online support forums were used as a supplementary learning exercise.
Method: Following a lecture on chronic pain students were randomly assigned to either the case study or online support forum condition and asked to rate their experience based on four learning objectives.
Results: Students who took part in the online support forum learning exercise rated the four learning objectives higher and obtained higher marks on a midterm exam than students in the case study exercise.
Conclusion: Reading people’s personal accounts of their experience with chronic pain through online support forums is more effective in increasing student understanding of the effects of chronic pain than the traditional case study.
Teaching Implications: Implications for teaching material that is highly emotional are discussed.
- case studies
- chronic pain
- learning objectives
- online support forums
ASJC Scopus subject areas