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Does the tutors' academic background influence the learning objectives in problem-based learning?


Grasl, Matthaeus C; Kremser, Karl; Breckwoldt, Jan; Gleiss, Andreas (2020). Does the tutors' academic background influence the learning objectives in problem-based learning? GMS Journal for Medical Education, 37(1):Doc8.

Abstract

Background: Problem-based learning (PBL) is an essential element of the curriculum of the Medical University of Vienna (MUV) and is performed in an eight steps model with: clarifying, defining, analysing, shifting & sorting, identifying learning objectives, going to learn and coming back to talk and feedback. With an annual intake of up to 740 students the MUV has to recruit PBL tutors from various academic backgrounds including undergraduate near-peer students. Therefore, we were interested to see whether a tutor's academic background had an influence on the resulting PBL sessions as reflected by the percentage of learning objectives (LOs) which were actually achieved in relation to the intended LOs. Methods: For each PBL session "intended learning objectives" (ILOs) were defined. ILOs were communicated to all tutors by means of PBL session guides in order to provide homogenous learning opportunities to all students. However, it was not mandatory to reach all ILOs. The PBL coordination regarded a range of two thirds to three quarters of ILOs as a desirable goal. For analysis we retrieved data concerning ILOs, characteristics of tutors and PBL groups from the institution's PBL quality assurance system. Results: From 2012-2014, 216 PBL groups were facilitated by 106 tutors with different academic backgrounds. On average, 70.8% (95% CI: 69.2-72.5%) of the ILOs were achieved; MUV clinicians reached 74.3% (70.8-77.8%), MUV non-clinicians 74.2% (71.7-76.6%), external faculty (clinicians and non-clinicians) 68.6% (64.4-72.8%), and near-peer students 64.7% (61.8-67.7%). Statistically significant differences were found between near-peer students and MUV clinicians (p<.001) as well as MUV non-clinicians (p<.001). Conclusions: ILOs were reached within a satisfactory range. However, groups taught by near-peer students reached significantly fewer ILOs than groups taught by MUV faculty tutors. This finding raises the question whether tutor training for near-peer students should be intensified. Also, further research is needed to explore the group dynamics of student-led PBL groups.

Abstract

Background: Problem-based learning (PBL) is an essential element of the curriculum of the Medical University of Vienna (MUV) and is performed in an eight steps model with: clarifying, defining, analysing, shifting & sorting, identifying learning objectives, going to learn and coming back to talk and feedback. With an annual intake of up to 740 students the MUV has to recruit PBL tutors from various academic backgrounds including undergraduate near-peer students. Therefore, we were interested to see whether a tutor's academic background had an influence on the resulting PBL sessions as reflected by the percentage of learning objectives (LOs) which were actually achieved in relation to the intended LOs. Methods: For each PBL session "intended learning objectives" (ILOs) were defined. ILOs were communicated to all tutors by means of PBL session guides in order to provide homogenous learning opportunities to all students. However, it was not mandatory to reach all ILOs. The PBL coordination regarded a range of two thirds to three quarters of ILOs as a desirable goal. For analysis we retrieved data concerning ILOs, characteristics of tutors and PBL groups from the institution's PBL quality assurance system. Results: From 2012-2014, 216 PBL groups were facilitated by 106 tutors with different academic backgrounds. On average, 70.8% (95% CI: 69.2-72.5%) of the ILOs were achieved; MUV clinicians reached 74.3% (70.8-77.8%), MUV non-clinicians 74.2% (71.7-76.6%), external faculty (clinicians and non-clinicians) 68.6% (64.4-72.8%), and near-peer students 64.7% (61.8-67.7%). Statistically significant differences were found between near-peer students and MUV clinicians (p<.001) as well as MUV non-clinicians (p<.001). Conclusions: ILOs were reached within a satisfactory range. However, groups taught by near-peer students reached significantly fewer ILOs than groups taught by MUV faculty tutors. This finding raises the question whether tutor training for near-peer students should be intensified. Also, further research is needed to explore the group dynamics of student-led PBL groups.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Institute of Anesthesiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Education
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:25 Nov 2020 15:58
Last Modified:01 Dec 2020 14:21
Publisher:German Medical Science
ISSN:2366-5017
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3205/zma001301
PubMed ID:32270022

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