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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 57-58

Candy lectures: Can Incentive improve the quality of student preparation in clinical lectures?

1 Department of Dermatology, King Faisal University, Hofuf, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, King Faisal University, Hofuf, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication18-Mar-2016

Correspondence Address:
Feroze Kaliyadan
Department of Dermatology, King Faisal University, Hofuf
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.178928

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How to cite this article:
Kaliyadan F, Khan AS. Candy lectures: Can Incentive improve the quality of student preparation in clinical lectures?. Educ Health 2016;29:57-8

How to cite this URL:
Kaliyadan F, Khan AS. Candy lectures: Can Incentive improve the quality of student preparation in clinical lectures?. Educ Health [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 Jun 1];29:57-8. Available from:

Dear Editor,

Retention of knowledge and student interest in general tends to be lower for clinical lectures in large groups as compared to small group teaching. Often, students attend lectures without adequate preparation, thereby finding it harder to grasp the concepts. We present a simple method, which offers incentive to the students and encourages them to come better prepared for lectures.

Four dermatology lectures were given to a group of 80 fifth-year medical students. Two of the lectures were given in a traditional didactic format where important concepts of the discussion topic were covered using a PowerPoint presentation. Discussion and interaction were encouraged.

The other two lectures were given in a format we labeled as a 'candy lecture'. Here, each PowerPoint slide essentially was a clinical photograph with or without a clinical scenario, followed by a question. The question could be the diagnosis itself, identification or explanation of a clinical sign or related to management of the case. The students were instructed that they were not to shout the answer out loud, but to raise their hands if they knew the answer and that the question would be directed to one particular student per the lecturer's discretion. A correct answer from a student was awarded a candy bar. If no hands went up, an additional clue was given following which the process was repeated and this time too the student with the correct answer was awarded a candy bar, albeit smaller than the first! Subsequently, the concepts involved in the photograph/scenario were discussed in an interactive manner. The candy lectures lasted for 50 minutes and covered around 10 'candy questions' per se ssion. Feedback on all four lectures was obtained from students using a written questionnaire. The questionnaire was in the form of a 5-point rating scale, including overall grading, level of topic interest, extent to which the lecture motivated self-study and ease of understanding. Paired t-tests were used to compare the two types of lectures.

Students rated the 'candy lectures' higher than the traditional lectures in terms of overall grading (P < 0.001), level of interest (P < 0.001), ease of understanding (P = 0.035) and motivation for self-study/come better prepared for lectures (P < 0.001). Results indicated that the 'candy lectures' may be an effective method for teaching clinical concepts to large groups. It is assumed that the 'candy' serves as an incentive which encourages a healthy competitive learning environment and makes learning more interesting.

There are very few studies dealing with the concept of using extrinsic rewards to improve preparedness and interaction of students in the context of large group teaching. Incentives can theoretically improve performance in any setting, including student performance;[1] however the actual relation between tangible rewards and intrinsic motivation for student learning is quite complex. Some studies have suggested that extrinsic rewards can actually undermine intrinsic motivation,[2] especially if the extrinsic reward is focused on an individual rather than a cooperative/group basis.[3] Our study was not assessing student performance as such, but rather if we could actually get the students to participate more effectively in the clinical lecture process. By keeping the activity open to the whole group rather than going student by student, we maintained a relatively low threat and enjoyable environment. Overall, we would suggest that the 'candy lecture' was effective in improving student preparedness and interaction for clinical lectures. The drawback of the 'candy lecture' would be that more effort is required on the part of the lecturer to decide and frame adequate questions. As a follow up, we want to see if the 'candy lectures' actually lead to improved scores in the clinical topics covered.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Sansgiry SS, Chanda S, Lemke T, Szilagyi JE. Effect of incentives on student performance on Milemarker examinations. Am J Pharm Educ 2006;70:103.  Back to cited text no. 1
Ma Q, Jin J, Meng L, Shen Q. The dark side of monetary incentive: How does extrinsic reward crowd out intrinsic motivation. Neuroreport 2014;25:194-8.  Back to cited text no. 2
Hom HL Jr., Berger M, Duncan MK, Miller A, Blevin A. The effects of cooperative and individualistic reward on intrinsic motivation. J Genet Psychol 1994;155:87-97.  Back to cited text no. 3


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