Changing problem-based learning to prepare students for work in clinical settings
We present a modification of traditional problem-based learning, aiming to prepare medical students for their transition to learning within the clinical setting. The new format was introduced into the final 4 weeks of year 2 of the medical program and included an initial tutorial each week that was student-facilitated, followed by a second tutorial at the end of the week for the whole cohort, led by a panel of expert clinicians. It was designed to focus on the preparation of students for case-based learning in year 3, where one tutorial each week is student-facilitated, and on their clinical reasoning and differential diagnosis skills. Another important focus is the students' ability to justify their case decisions to expert clinicians. We present the results of a student satisfaction survey about this new format of PBL. 59 students responded to the survey (response rate of 73.8%). The students were very positive about the new format, with 94.9% agreeing or strongly agreeing that they enjoyed the format. However, the majority did not agree that the use of the format should be expanded in the curriculum. We suggest that students may not be ready for the independence from faculty tutors earlier in their program. The new format was perceived to be more effective than conventional PBL in developing skills in clinical reasoning and differential diagnosis, and resulted in some unexpected outcomes that related to professional roles and responsibilities. We propose that this format is a useful PBL format to consider for students in the transition between campus-based and workplace-based learning.
Effective Teaching and Learning Conference 2007