MEDICAL EDUCATION & PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING: COLLABORATION, CONTRADICTION & CONFLICT
AbstractThis is a phenomenological study about problem-based learning (PBL) in medical education. Whilst there are strong arguments for PBL having a key presence in today's undergraduate medical curriculum, there is little empirical evidence to show whether or not students fully engage in the opportunities that advocates of PBL claim it offers. This study was approached from the viewpoint that it is important to establish the students’ interpretation and acceptance of PBL, as they are, in practice, the key protagonists. Eleven in-depth, one-to-one, semi structured interviews with medical students offered the main focus for exploring PBL as a phenomenon, but additional sources of evidence were included; observation of PBL sessions, photographs of student study areas, copies of student note taking, and data on a student's weekly study activity. The students' narratives from the interviews, and additional sources of data, enabled a detailed exploration of PBL. Further analysis of the data took place against the backdrop of literature on PBL. The data suggest that whilst students were identifying some of the opportunities that PBL affords, there were a number of constraints and conflicts which were affecting their learning and that, at times, this was leading to a sense of frustration. This study supported the view of PBL as a pragmatic solution for designers of undergraduate medical education because, within PBL's methodology, it promotes self-directed learning, which can be closely tailored to the programme objectives. However, if the adopted process of PBL leads to an emphasis on participation over that of construction of knowledge, medical students can be left feeling frustrated by PBLs seemingly inefficiency. The findings of this study suggest that PBL can address relevant learning objectives for preparing students to be doctors but its methodology is, at present, not successfully competing against the heavy presence of knowledge based assessments within a medical curriculum.
Bunting, Margaret (2016) MEDICAL EDUCATION & PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING: COLLABORATION, CONTRADICTION & CONFLICT. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.