Knowledge decay in undergraduate education in paediatrics

Mahalingam Soundarya, Kulkarni Vaman, Achappa Basavaprabhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Knowledge decay, or poor retention, is a problem experienced among the undergraduate students and even by their teaching faculty. During the undergraduate course in paediatrics, this knowledge decay is seen between the first (4th semester) and second (8th semester) clinical posting with wasting of time and faculty resources in reinforcement of this acquired knowledge again. Objectives: To identify the extent and reasons for the knowledge decay in undergraduate medical education in paediatrics. Method: Mixed method comparative study was conducted among 8th semester students posted in Department of Paediatrics. The end of posting multiple choice questions (MCQ) test in 4th semester was re-administered as a pre-test in 8th semester along with open ended questions for their reasons. The marks obtained in both tests were compared and analysed using the paired t-test. Results: The marks of 225 students were compared between the 2 posting sessions. Decay of acquired knowledge was found to be statistically significant among all sections of paediatrics, with the most decay being in the knowledge of anthropometry and least decay in infectious diseases and haematology. The long gap between the two postings, lack of theory knowledge and paediatrics not being an examination subject in the second year, were the reasons given for the decay. Conclusions: Significant loss of acquired knowledge was found in paediatrics between 4th and 8th semester clinical postings after initial good acquisition. The lack of reinforcement in the intervening years was the main reason for knowledge decay from the students' perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-70
Number of pages6
JournalSri Lanka Journal of Child Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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