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The Effectiveness of Problem-based Learning in Acquisition of Knowledge, Soft Skills During Basic and Preclinical Sciences: Medical Students’ Points of View

Mutasim E. Ibrahim, Abdullah M. Al-Shahrani, Mohamed E. Abdalla, Inshirah M. Abubaker, Mohamed E. Mohamed.


Background: Students’ opinions about their medical curriculum is essential process for evaluating program strength and weakness. Aim: We aimed to assess the benefits and effectiveness of PBL in acquisition of knowledge and soft skills during basic (Phase I) and preclinical (Phase II) sciences. Methods: Across-sectional study was conducted at the University of Bisha, College of Medicine, Saudi Arabia. Students at Phase I and Phase II were involved. A validated self-administered questionnaire used for data collection. Responses to the questionnaire items regarding PBL benefits, preferences and effectiveness in acquisition of knowledge and soft skills were ordinal following a four-point Likert scale format. Independent and paired t tests were used to compare between the means and SD of each two variables. A p value ≤ 0.05 considered as statistically significant. Results: Most of students (86.3%) reported a positive perception on all the items assessing the benefits of PBL approach. Students’ responses on PBL relating to the acquisition of knowledge (3.27±0.46) and soft skill (3.32±0.45) were high. There were no significant differences determined in the mean score and SD of acquisition of knowledge (p=0.768) and soft skills (p=0.297) between second and third year students. PBL was preferred in Phase II comparable to Phase I modules (3.371±0.299 vs. 3.026±0.627; p=0.001). Conclusion: Effectiveness of PBL found to be high and increasing after taking a series of modules. Although PBL methodology has impact in acquisition of knowledge and skills, intended program outcome should be determined to assess the effects of PBL.

Key words: Problem-Based Learning, methods, statistics and numerical data.

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