Analysis Report

Context Analysis

The health of society is a concern for any nation.  The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a "resource for everyday life, not the objective of living", and "health is a positive concept emphasizing social and personal resources, as well as physical capacities" (Wikipedia, 2008).  One aspect of improving human health is through clinical care.  In the health profession, a wide variety of individuals are involved in this process.  Each individual must communicate effectively with the other.  The correct pronunciation of terms becomes a must. 

The University of Tennessee’s College of Medicine program is dedicated toward educating and training physicians at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels.  The University of Tennessee, College of Medicine is part of the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center (UTHSC) and offers programs leading to the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree. The College of Medicine also participates in the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)/Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) combined degree program. Medical Students rotate on campuses in Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga as well as other training areas throughout the state.  Over 900 residents train in participating hospitals located in Chattanooga, Jackson, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville.  Students at UTHSC are exposed to "a broad array of programs” (UTHCS web site, 2008). 

In the second year of the program, medical students at UTHSC take a Medical Pharmacology course where they are expected to learn the names and uses of drugs.  Course lectures and support materials present the drugs in categories according to usage and include the generic name, brand names, as well as correct spelling.  In addition to learning the names and uses of drugs, it is important students learn the correct American English pronunciation, in order to communicate with other medical professionals they meet in a clinical setting. Students currently learn to pronounce the names of the drugs through hearing them spoken by the professors and through replaying lectures on tape.  The current methods are not always adequate, as students provide anecdotal evidence of clinical incidents where they refer to a drug by name and are not understood by medical staff.  Approximately eighty-five percent of the time students mispronounce terms by omitting syllables or letters.  According to Dr. Brescia, Instructional Technology Director, one reported source of the problem is a pronunciation difference between American and British English:  the main lecturer speaks British English.  Students thus need to learn to pronounce the drug names correctly in American English. 

Salient issues include faculty support, student’s grasp of word structure, student’s ability to read and pronounce terms, and the student’s prior knowledge of terms.  Students are expected to recall over 600 drug names.  The drug names are presented to students through lectures, recordings, or printed material.  The primary stakeholders are the students, Director of Instructional Technology, and course directors of medical education.

Learner Analysis

Learner Description

Each year a hundred and fifty students enter the medical program.  These students are typically residents of Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, or Alabama.  Ten percent may be from other states provided they are children of alumni.  Prior to admission, students must complete ninety hours of undergraduate coursework, pass Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), submit personal statement, and have desired personal qualities.  Although no specific major is required, it is recommended that students take courses in humanities, fine arts, and social sciences.  They need courses such as biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, general physics, and English.

Forty-seven students were surveyed.  Sixty-eight percent agree that an online drug pronunciation guide would help them.  The client also feels that the guide is necessary since studies show that students who study alone always have trouble. The students would be able to access the system from anywhere at anytime which would be ideal for the eighty percent who prefer to study alone.  Although students may have personal computers, UTHSC provides access to computers.

**The Learner Analysis may be revisited at a later time as more information is gathered due to the low response from the surveys (Information was gathered from UTHSC web site, surveys, and the Instructional Technology Director).

Learner Expectations
Learners have a strong desire to become doctors which is evident by their enrollment at UT.  From this knowledge, it can be inferred that they will be motivated to learn the correct pronunciation of terms.  Being able to pronounce terms correctly reflects how well they are able to communicate with colleagues and others within the medical profession.

Performance Analysis

The desired performance is students will pronounce terms using Standard English on the first attempt.

The actual performance is approximately eighty-five percent of the time students mispronounce terms by omitting syllables or letters.

Possible causes for this discrepancy are:

  • How instruction is presented (information, knowledge)
  • Lack of resources available (information, resources)
  • Difference between American and British pronunciation of terms (knowledge)
  • Lack of practice in pronouncing terms (motivation)
  • Lack of use of pharmacology terms (knowledge)
  • Lack of knowledge of pharmacology terms (information, knowledge)

This proposal will address the lack of resources.

A Web-based performance support system (WbPSS) will present the learner with an audio model of the correct pronunciation of terms.

Learning Context Analysis

Information Categories

Data Sources

Learning Site Characteristics

1. Number/
nature of sites


UTHSC web site

Site Visits:


Number: The UTHS program is located on campuses in Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.
Facilities: The Web-based delivery/deployment at UTHSC networks across campus and is delivered directly into the UTHSC student’s home or computers on campus.  Students may also obtain the connection on laptops through wireless capabilities.

2. Site compati-
bility with

UTHSC web site

Site Visits:


Equipment: Most locations are equipped with computers that have the latest and productive computing capabilities as well as printers; others may contain scanners.

Resources: An account for technology and programs created from State funds and tuition will go towards the development of the system.

1. Since medical students are very busy, obtaining participants to go through the web-based performance support system may be difficult.
2. Meeting and training rooms in the library have to be scheduled for individual use.  Scheduling and arranging an area within the library or student center within timeframe may present a problem.
3.  Students using the web-based performance support system at the same time may disturb each other.

Instructional strategies: Instructional strategies may include but are not limited to self-study print material, computer-based instruction, classroom group discussion sessions in library or other designated area.  The web is a means to provide materials and discussions in a collected location.  With the aid of the WbPSS, students on rotation or residency will have access to these discussions and materials.  Novice and expert users will find the EPSS beneficial to either.

Delivery approaches: The ITS department provides support to facility and students regarding technical issues and services; resource handbook outlines all services provide.

Time: Student determines amount of time needed to review material.

Personnel: UTHSC has a Department for Information Technology Service (Computing Systems, Oracle Application Development, Networking Services, Technology Support Services, and Telecommunications) along with the and staff of the College of Medicine on each of the campuses.

3. Site compati-
bility with
learner needs:

UTHSC web site

Site Visits:


Location (distance): The sites are located in an area in or near downtown.  

Conveniences: The centers are near restaurants and have cafeterias in the facility.

Space: Individual or groups (large or small) can meet.

Equipment: Users may bring laptops or use any computer within the center.

4. Feasibility for
work place


UTHSC web site

Site Visits:


Supervisory characteristics: Instructors are available to assist students.

Physical characteristics: The physical characteristics may be simulated since students often communicate with each other in study groups around campus.

Social characteristics: The students will be able to communicate with each other.


Page Last Updated Wednesday, April 16, 2008 7:31 PM