Student test scores are improved in a virtual learning environment

Harry R. Goldberg, Guy M. McKhann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study evaluates the effectiveness of delivering the core curriculum of an introductory neuroscience course using a software application referred to as a virtual learning interface (VU). The performance of students in a virtual learning environment (VLE)1 is compared with that of students in a conventional lecture hall in which the same lecturer presented the same material. This study was not designed to determine whether grades are improved by augmenting a lecture with other information. The VII takes advantage of audio, video, animation, and text in a multimedia computer environment. Our results indicate that raw average scores on weekly examinations were 14 percentage points higher for students in the VLE compared with those for students in a conventional lecture hall setting. Moreover, normalized test scores were over 5 points higher for students in the VLE. This analysis suggest that a core curriculum can be effectively presented to students using the VLE, thereby making it possible for faculty to spend less class time relaying facts and more time engaging students in discussion of scientific theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000



  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Distance education
  • Neuroscience
  • Remote education
  • Science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology

Cite this