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Information technology (IT)-based components are included as active learning activities in medical curricula that have been shown to be more effective than most passive learning activities. In developing countries, these activities are not popular compared with developed countries. In this study, an IT-based assignment was carried out in physiology for undergraduates in Sri Lanka. We assessed certain basic IT capabilities before the assignment and found that the capability of using MS Word, e-mail, and the internet was limited to 68.3%, 62.0%, and 49.2% of students, respectively, with 40.8% of students having some other IT capabilities. We found a considerable variation in IT capabilities among the students, which depended on IT learning at schools and the geographical locations where students came from. The main source of IT knowledge for students was an introductory IT course given in the medical school with the second source being private IT learning centers. Response to the IT-based assignment was very poor. The reasons for poor participation included a lack of time due to parallel subjects, poor IT knowledge, and poor IT resource availability. However, students were willing to have optional IT-based components and were aware that IT knowledge is important for medical students as well as doctors. This study shows the importance of improving IT knowledge in students and the need of improving IT resources in medical schools. With these improvements, physiology education can be enriched with more interactive IT-based learning activities, which help students to acquire knowledge more efficiently and effectively in developing countries like Sri Lanka.
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