Minimal effects of reduced teaching hours on undergraduate medical student learning outcomes and course evaluations Academic Article uri icon


  • Introduction: Various pressures exist for curricular change, including economic forces, burgeoning knowledge, broadening learning outcomes, and improving quality and outcomes of learning experiences. In an Australian 5-year undergraduate medical course, staff were asked to reduce teaching hours by 20% to alleviate perceived overcrowded preclinical curriculum, achieve operating efficiencies and liberate time for students' self-directed learning.Methods: A case study design with mixed methods was used to evaluate outcomes.Results: Teaching hours were reduced by 198 hours (14%) overall, lectures by 153 hours (19%) and other learning activities by 45 hours (7%). Summative assessment scores did not change significantly after the reductions: 0.4% increase, 1.5% decrease and 1.7% increase in Years 1, 2 and 3, respectively. The percentage of students successfully completing their academic year did not change significantly: 94.4% before and 93.3% after the reductions. Student evaluations from eVALUate surveys changed little, except workload was perceived to be more reasonable.Conclusions: Teaching hours, particularly lectures, can be moderately reduced with little impact on student learning outcomes or satisfaction with an undergraduate medical course.


  • Choi-Lundberg, Derek L
  • Al-Aubaidy, Hayder A
  • Burgess, John R
  • Clifford, Christine A
  • Cuellar, William A
  • Errey, Judi A
  • Harper, Amanda J
  • Malley, Roslyn C
  • Ross, Renee M
  • Williams, Anne-Marie M
  • Hays, Richard

publication date

  • 2020