Szabó Z, Harangi M, Nylander E, Ljungman A, Theodorsson A, Ahn H and Davidsson B
The aim of this study is to determine which factors influence student’s perceptions of problem-based learning (PBL).
Introduction: student perception of problem-based learning (PBL) group tutorials was investigated at a Swedish University Medical College 27 years after the introduction of PBL into the curriculum.
Methods: a survey questionnaire comprising 43 questions answered on a Likert-type scale, together with one open question was used. The questionnaire was distributed to all 821 students taking part in the Linköping University medical program at the beginning of the Spring Term 2013. The results were subjected to explorative factor analysis, descriptive statistics and ANOVA. Responses to the open question where analyzed qualitatively by categorization.
Results: 84 per cent of the 821 students completed the survey. Four factors describing student perception were identified: 1) PBL as a method of learning; 2) the tutor’s role; 3) PBL, stress and feelings of insecurity; and 4) traditional teaching methods within the PBL curriculum. The Cronbach´s alpha value was 0,788 overall. Two hundred and seventy-six students answered the open question declaring that they would appreciate more precise aims and objectives, smaller tutorial groups, and more formal lectures.
Conclusions: the results of this study on PBL group tutorials, as seen from the student’s perspective, stress the importance of tutorial quality, tutor competence, tutorial group size and the quality and aims of the curriculum. Too much emphasis on the teacher’s research merits against the educational ones, and the inability to adapt to the needs and wishes of new generations of students seems a probable cause for the erosion of PBL.