Use of Two Step Small Group Discussion to Enhance Learning of Basic Immunology


Nafiseh Pakravan 1 , * , Rouhangiz Norouzinia 2 , Zohreh Ghazivakili 3 , Behrooz Pouragha 4

1 Ph.D. in Immunology, Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, ALborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran, Iran

2 M.Sc. in Emergency Medicine, Instructor, Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Allied Medical Sciences, Alborz, University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran, Iran

3 M.Sc. in Health Services Administration, Medical Education Research Center, Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran, Iran

4 Ph.D. in Health Services Administration, Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services Management, School of Public Health, Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran, Iran

How to Cite: Pakravan N , Norouzinia R , Ghazivakili Z , Pouragha B. Use of Two Step Small Group Discussion to Enhance Learning of Basic Immunology , Strides Dev Med Educ. 2015 ; 12(2):e59327.


Strides in Development of Medical Education: 12 (2); e59327
Published Online: June 28, 2015
Article Type: Research Article
Received: August 02, 2017
Accepted: April 05, 2015




Background & Objective: Discussion in small groups is one of the most reliable methods that will lead to a deeper learning. This method is based on the active participation of all members of the group. The immunology course necessitates thought and connection among the presented content. Therefore, in this study, the efficacy of this method in increasing students’ understanding of the relationship between the components of the immune system was evaluated.
Methods: The course lectures were presented in 12 sessions each lasting 2 hours. Then, the students were given the opportunity to study for a few days. An exam was taken based on the presented content, and then, the students were divided into groups under the titles of immune system cells. The discussion sessions were conducted. A second exam was taken after the discussion. Scores of pre- and post-discussion in small groups were compared. Students' satisfaction with this approach was asked orally and through open questions and recorded.
Results: A statistically significant increase was observed in students’ scores after the discussion in small groups compared to before the discussion. Among the students, 65% believed that this method had a great effect on deep understanding and were willing to repeat this approach. Furthermore, 82% of students believed that their confidence increased in respect to what they had learned.
Conclusion: Small group discussion is a potent educational method, because its implementation in 1 session on taught content resulted in an increase in scores. The implementation of this method may be difficult for the teacher, but this approach has significant effects on student learning behavior.


Small group discussion Self-confidence Communication skills Learning behavior

© 2015, Medical Education Development Center. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.




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