Development of a virtual classroom for pre-analytical phase of laboratory medicine for undergraduate medical students using the delphi technique

Document Type



Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Educational Development


Background: Amongst the pre-analytical, analytical, and post-analytical phase of laboratory testing, pre-analytical phase is the most error-prone. Knowledge gaps in understanding of pre-analytical factors are identified in the clinical years amongst undergraduate students due to lack of formal teaching modules on the pre-analytical phase. This study was conducted to seek experts' consensus in Clinical Chemistry on learning objectives and contents using the Delphi technique with an aim to develop an asynchronous virtual classroom for teaching pre-analytical factors of laboratory testing.
Methods: A mixed method study was conducted at the Aga Khan University. A questionnaire comprising of 16 learning objectives and their associated triggers was developed on Google Docs for developing the case vignettes. A four-point Likert Scale, which included strongly agree, agree, disagree and strongly disagree, was utilized for the learning objectives. An open-ended question was included for experts to suggest new items for inclusion. A cut off of at least 75% agreement was set to establish consensus on each item. A total of 17 Chemical Pathology faculty from 13 institutions across Pakistan were invited to participate in the first round of Delphi. Similar method of response was used in round two to establish consensus on the newly identified items suggested by the faculty in round 1. Later, the agreed-upon objectives and triggers were used to develop interactive scenarios over Moodle to concurrently test and teach medical students in a nonchalant manner.
Results: A total of 17 responses were received in Round 1 of the Delphi process (response rate = 100%), while 12 responses were received in Round 2 (response rate = 71%). In round 1, all 16 learning objectives reached the required consensus (≥ 75%) with no additional learning objectives suggested by the experts. Out of 75 triggers in round 1, 61 (81.3%) reached the consensus to be included while 39 were additionally suggested. In 2nd round, 17 out of 39 newly suggested triggers met the desired consensus. 14 triggers did not reach the consensus after two rounds, and were therefore eliminated. The virtual classroom developed using the agreed-upon learning objectives and triggers consisted of 20 items with a total score of 31 marks. The questions included multiple choice questions, fill in the blanks, drag and drop sequences and read-and-answer comprehensions. Specific learning points were included after each item and graphs and pictures were included for a vibrant experience.
Conclusion: We developed an effective and interactive virtual session with expert consensus on the pre-analytical phase of laboratory testing for undergraduate medical students which can be used for medical technologist, graduate students and fellows in Chemical Pathology.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

PloS one

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.