Helping medical students in their study of statistics: A flexible approach

Jimmie Leppink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the course of their curriculum, medical students must acquire knowledge and skills in a variety of domains. Teachers and educational designers need to integrate each of these topics into the curriculum and decide what to cover during which period and with which learning materials and activities. Since medical experts are expected to have at least basic skills with numerical information that can inform decision-making in their daily work, statistics is an indispensable component of the medical curriculum. Statistics is a complex topic that is characterized by hierarchically organized and counterintuitive concepts. To help medical students develop a conceptual understanding of statistics that enables them to understand and communicate statistical information regarding patients or from empirical research, teachers and educational designers should organize their students' study of statistics such that they are guided into the topic systematically and gradually. This article outlines the evolution of statistics education and research in this area, how it applies to medical education, and how a flexible approach can help teachers and educational designers create a learning environment in which students can develop the knowledge and skills they will need during their internships and jobs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Taibah University Medical Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • Cognitive load theory
  • Complexity
  • Fidelity
  • Instructional support

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