Making choices: how do medical students choose between bachelor electives? (Published 2015)
Apr 06, 2016
Schouten L.S, Janssen C.C.M, Bazelmans E and Bosman G.J.C.G.M
This work aims to provide an insight into the sources of information used by medical students and the influence of course characteristics on the selection of electives in science-centred courses.
Background: Little is known about the sources of information used by medical students, and on the influence of the course characteristics, to select an elective, science-centered course. Therefore, the aim of this work was to gain more insight into these factors, in order to increase satisfaction with students and faculty.
Methods: A digital questionnaire immediately after registration for an elective course program in the sixth semester of the bachelor program.
Results: The most important source of information was the student-authored elective guide. In-depth treatment of a specific medical topic and wanting to acquire more knowledge of a postgraduate training program contributed most to the final selection. Students who attached much value to the educational format, considered many practicals and many lectures as positive aspects. Opinion was divided on the time spent on scientific topics, and on a written test as part of the grading process. When a group effort was a major factor in determining the final grade, this was considered a negative factor.
Conclusions: The information on elective courses should include student-authored information. The students’ selection criteria for elective courses reflect the variation in student attitude. Therefore, the information on the elective program should clearly identify its main goals.
An interesting paper that adds to our understanding regarding student choice and how curriculum planners can influence this. I worried little about the distinction between SSCs and Electives which have, or should have, different objectives and structure.
I recommend this very interesting paper especially for colleagues planning a curriculum and electives. It describes and identifies the predominant learning styles of undergraduate medical students and can be used to imrove learning environments and teaching/learning activities to facilitate students’ learning.