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Problem based learning versus standard tutorials: A student assessment

Gina Arena
School of Population Health, The University of Western Australia
Until recently the approach of problem based learning (PBL) has been largely an undertaking in the medical courses. However PBL in non-medical courses is increasing. Changing from a traditional didactic style of learning to a problem based method of learning may provide new learning challenges for the student. The aim of this investigation was to evaluate the development of skills and knowledge in newly developed PBL style tutorials for a Health and Research Methods course. This was the first time the third year Health Science Degree students (School of Population Health) had participated in PBL at The University of Western Australia.

A two page evaluation was distributed to students at the end of semester during the final PBL session. Students were asked to evaluate different areas of learning on a 4-point Likert scale and also to indicate the effectiveness of standard or PBL tutorials against a number of learning outcomes. Results of the analysis suggest that students preferred PBL tutorials over the traditional style and that overall it was a much more enjoyable process. The application and content of the subject area (epidemiology) ranked as the top areas of development and learning. Implications for future course developments and the application of the PBL style will be discussed.

Please cite as: Arena, G. (2003). Problem based learning versus standard tutorials: A student assessment. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/arena-abs.html

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Last revision: 13 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/arena-abs.html