A comparison of learning outcomes and attitudes in student- versus faculty-led problem-based learning

An experimental study

David J. Steele, Jim D. Medder, Paul Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To compare learning outcomes and perceptions of facilitator behaviours and small-group process in problem-based learning (PBL) groups led by students and those led by faculty. Design: A prospective, Latin-square cross-over design was employed. Second-year medical students participated in 11 PBL cases over the course of the academic year. For each case, half the student groups were led by faculty and the other half by a student group member selected randomly to serve in the facilitator role. Learning outcomes were assessed by performance on objective examinations covering factual materials pertinent to the case. Perceptions of facilitator behaviours and of group functioning were assessed with a questionnaire completed at the end of each individual case. Focus-group discussions were held to gain more in-depth information about student perceptions and experience. Student-led sessions were observed at random by the investigators. Setting: A state-supported, US medical school with a hybrid lecture-based and problem-based curriculum. Subjects: One hundred and twenty-seven second-year medical students and 30 basic science and clinical faculty. Results: No differences were detected in student performance on the objective evaluation based on whether the facilitator was a faculty member or peer group member, nor were there any differences in the perceptions of group process. Students gave peer facilitators slightly higher ratings in the second semester of the experiment. In the focus-group discussions, students voiced a general preference for student-led groups because they felt they were more efficient. Observation and focus-group reports suggest that groups led by students sometimes took short cuts in the PBL process. Conclusion: In a hybrid lecture- and PBL-based curriculum, student performance on objective examinations covering PBL materials is unaffected by the status of the facilitator (student vs. faculty). However, in peer-facilitated groups, students sometimes took short cuts in the PBL process that may undermine some of the intended goals of PBL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Education
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 21 2000

Fingerprint

Problem-Based Learning
Learning
Students
learning
student
Focus Groups
Group
Peer Group
Group Processes
peer group
Medical Students
group membership
group discussion
medical student
learning process
performance
curriculum
examination
Medical Schools
Curriculum

Keywords

  • Attitude of health personnel
  • Curriculum
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Medical
  • Methods
  • Outcome assessment
  • Problem-based learning
  • Undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

Cite this

A comparison of learning outcomes and attitudes in student- versus faculty-led problem-based learning : An experimental study. / Steele, David J.; Medder, Jim D.; Turner, Paul.

In: Medical Education, Vol. 34, No. 1, 21.01.2000, p. 23-29.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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