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Surgical Decision Making


The surgical decision making eLearning website is designed to enhance the fourth, fifth, and sixth year medical students, and postgraduate surgical trainee's understanding of clinical decision making processes.

A highly interactive website was designed using both short case and tutorial teaching formats. Changes in students' knowledge about decision making and decision making styles are measured by pre- and post-MCQ tests.

Who can access the Surgical Decision Making eLearning website?

Surgical Decision Making ImageThe eLearning website is readily available to each medical student through blackboard authorisation.

It forms a compulsory part of the student’s fourth year surgical attachment within Dunedin.

It is also available to:

  • Fourth year medical students in Wellington and Christchurch
  • Fifth and sixth year medical students
  • Dunedin surgical trainees

It ensures a safe and independently led learning environment that the students can access both within the hospital and at home via an Internet connection at their own convenience.

Visit the Surgical Decision Making Making eLearning Website (via Blackboard)

Structure of the Surgical Decision Making website

The website is structured around the Otago Surgical Decision Making Model with tutorials developed to explain how each of the layers effect surgical decision making.

The short cases enable students to reflect on these elements of decision making in an interactive way. They are based on real cases and ask students to make decisions and give them the opportunity to link back to the tutorials for more information on decision making factors. Students who have interacted with the website have enjoyed the realism of the cases, and said that the cases kept their interest.

The website also allows the chance for learning about how students learn when engaging with a web-based educational format. As the student accesses the website, the pages visited and the path taken through the website is anonymously recorded. This allows us as educators the chance to review different learning patterns.

The development of the Surgical Decision Making website

The Surgical Decision Making website was developed from Dr Sarah Rennie's PhD, Surgical trainee decision making: Exploring, modeling, teaching and learning, by Sarah and the Surgical Decision Making Group.

Assistance was received from Susan Baxter (assistant research fellow); HEDC: Peter Vlugter (primary software developer), Ayelet Cohen (design), Swee Kin Loke (software developer and evaluation), Michael Winikoff (software developer and project management), Jenny McDonald (Academic Director of educational media); and collaborations with Joy Rudland, Mike Tweed, Timothy Wilkinson, and John Dockerty, from the Medical Education Group.

This project was kindly funded by a CALT eLearning enhancement grant.

Find out more about CALT grants