‘What is the ideal way of teaching Ayurveda?’ – has been a debated question since long. The present graduate level curriculum lists out the topics from ‘contemporary medical science’ and ‘Ayurveda’ discretely, placing no emphasis on integration. Most of the textbooks, too, follow the same pattern. This makes learning not only difficult, but also leads to cognitive dissonance.
To develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a few integrative teaching methods.
Materials and Methods:
We introduced three different interventions in the subject Kriya Sharira with special reference to ‘cardiovascular physiology’. The instructional methods that we evaluated were: 1. Integrative module on cardiovascular physiology (IMCP), 2. case-stimulated learning (CSL), and 3. classroom small group discussion (CSGD). In the first two experiments, we subjected the experimental group of graduate students to the integrative instructional methods. The control group of students received the instructions in a conventional, didactic, teacher-centric way. After the experiments were over, the learning outcome was assessed and compared on the basis of the test scores. The groups were crossed over thereafter and the instructional methods were interchanged. Finally, feedback was obtained on different questionnaires. In the third experiment, only student feedback was taken as we could not have a control group.
The test results in the first experiment showed that the integrative method is comparable with the conventional method. In the second experiment, the test results showed that the integrative method is better than the conventional method. The student feedback showed that all the three methods were perceived to be more interesting than the conventional one.
The study shows that the development of testable integrative teaching methods is possible in the context of Ayurveda education. It also shows that students find integrative approaches more interesting than the conventional method.