Promote the development of learning strategies in Morphophysiology: a necessary experience


Promote the development of learning strategies in Morphophysiology: a necessary experience

Potenciar el desarrollo de estrategias de aprendizaje en Morfofisiología: una experiencia necesaria


Marisol González Falcón1*
Madelaine Alemán Mederos1
Ana Mary Montes de Oca González1
Ana Gloria Cabrera García1


1Villa Clara university of Medical Sciences. Cuba.


*Author for correspondence. Email:



Cuban higher education requires the use of learning strategies that lead the student towards the development of attitudes, motivations and tools for mastering what is recognized as learning to learn and learning to create permanently, in different situations and contexts. The purpose of the authors is to communicate their experiences on the subject, based on research carried out at the Faculty of Dentistry in Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences, in which, after diagnosing the problem, methodological actions were designed to enhance the development of appropriate learning strategies for students from the first year of the degree. They were evaluated by specialists and their application was satisfactory and moderately satisfactory, according to the recipients.

MeSH: strategies; learning; students, dental; education, medical.


La educación superior cubana requiere el empleo de estrategias de aprendizaje que conduzcan al estudiante hacia el desarrollo de actitudes, motivaciones y herramientas para el dominio de lo que se reconoce como aprender a aprender, y aprender a crear de modo permanente, en diferentes situaciones y contextos. Es propósito de los autores comunicar sus experiencias sobre el tema, a partir de una investigación realizada en la Facultad de Estomatología de la Universidad de Ciencias Médicas de Villa Clara, en la cual, después de diagnosticar la problemática, se diseñaron acciones metodológicas para potenciar el desarrollo de estrategias de aprendizaje apropiadas para los estudiantes desde el primer año de la carrera. Fueron valoradas por especialistas y su aplicación resultó satisfactoria y medianamente satisfactoria, según los destinatarios.

DeSC: estrategias; aprendizaje; estudiantes de Odontología; educación médica.



Submitted: 13/02/2019
Accepted: 19/02/2019



Cuban higher education immersed in its improvement assumes the conception of a process capable of empowering students the active and creative appropriation of knowledge, with involvement in learning that leads to the development of attitudes, motivations and tools for mastering what it is recognized as learning to learn, and learning to create permanently, in different situations and contexts.(1)

Since the beginning of the implementation of the Morphophysiology discipline, its fundamental problems have focused on how to achieve a real integration of contents, how to make the class more attractive and how to develop relevant learning strategies,(2,3) the latter being understood as the organized, conscious and intentional set of what the apprentice does to effectively achieve an objective in a given social context; Some authors (4,5,6) define them in terms of learning effectively and designing and implementing action plans adjusted to the foreseen goals and the conditions of the content.

Several investigations (2,4) on learning in Morphophysiology have referred to few study habits, passive attitudes, tendency to rote learning, problems to transfer knowledge and limitations in textual interpretation among students. For this reason the authors set out to design a system of methodological actions to stimulate the development of learning strategies in this discipline.

The research work was developed in the Dentistry degree of Villa Clara University of Medical Sciences, with a sample of 60 students selected by simple random sampling out of a population of 120 and their teachers of the Morphophysiology discipline. Gargallo et al.(5) questionnaire was applied to evaluate learning strategies in university students, and the group interview to the teachers based on the adaptation of this questionnaire. A documentary review was made with analysis of content techniques and a pre test and post test.

The percentage of intrinsically motivated students with adequate self-evaluation criteria, appropriate organization of information and high expectations was significant, they considered that learning is the most important thing and they feel satisfaction when they do it. Coinciding with Navea,(4) Santos(7) and Martínez-Guerrero et al.,(8) the authors of this research paper believe that in order to achieve effective learning, the will and ability must converge, that is, strategies and motivation. In the analyzed sample, anxiety predominated as physical state identified as academic stress, which can cause systemic imbalance and forces the student to perform coping actions,(2,4,6,7) this indicates the need to deepen the perceived stress before the educational demands in the university context; There were also shortcomings in social interaction skills when declaring its preference for solo study, which warns of the need to facilitate a true interrelation, where students become socializers of their training and encourage teamwork.

Most had strategies to create an adequate study environment, but showed difficulties in taking advantage of time, knowledge and integration of information sources, locating, managing and identifying documents, consulting magazines and taking notes in class. Less than half showed skills in writing information, they did not take advantage of the use of mnemonic resources, few had the necessary creativity, and critical analysis and the contribution of personal ideas are poor.

Current conceptions center the learning process as a constructivist activity in which the subject does not limit it to remember and reproduce, but must construct its own mental representation and select and interpret relevant information; this form of learning is an important determinant of what the student will learn.(4,8,9)

The results showed that the teachers' knowledge about learning strategies was insufficient, they did not use cooperative learning to their full potential and they generated a relaxed atmosphere during the teaching practice, which is consistent with the academic stress found. Applying the learning strategies constitutes a strength for the identification of difficulties and potentialities in the teaching-learning process.

Once limitations have been identified the following Methodological actions were designed according to the paradigm of constructivist learning:


  • Increase the improvement and upgrading of teachers in relation to the level of knowledge about learning strategies.
  • Manage audiovisual resources in order to stimulate meaningful learning and motivation for basic sciences.
  • Design a course on learning to learn for new students entering the degree.
  • Train students in the development of skills that facilitate processing, organizing and transferring printed or electronic information.
  • Encourage collaborative learning and teamwork, self-evaluation and co-evaluation.
  • Use psycho-activation techniques: brainstorming, case studies in healthcare practice, problem solving, decision making.
  • Develop a critical and self-critical spirit in students from the discussion of errors in the evaluations, taking advantage of them as an important moment of learning.
  • Use the multimedia treatment of the topics which stimulates interaction, collaborative learning and reduces isolation.
  • Prioritize the orientation of activities based on metacognition, and how to learn.


An instructive methodological class followed by an open class was also taught in the teaching staff, whose objective was the development of student-centered learning strategies, aimed at promoting social interaction and creating an environment conducive to evaluation. These actions were considered relevant by the specialists consulted so as to solve the problem found.

When exploring the degree of satisfaction of the teachers with the application of the actions, the moderately satisfied category prevailed, while the comparative evaluation when applying the diagnostic instrument determined that 57% of the students managed to develop coherent strategies with a deep approach on learning, what corresponds to a fairly satisfactory evaluation.

The challenge goes far beyond providing information to students, it is necessary to foster in them the cognitive skills and executive control that allows them to build knowledge of the best quality in order to perfect the teaching-learning process in medical sciences, and more specifically in new students entering the Dentistry degree.



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Declaration of interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest



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