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Role of various small group teaching methods in enhancing learning among medical undergraduate students A comparative study

Jyothi Shivalingiah, Rashmi Ramanathan, Raajaseharan S R, Jeyabanu S, Rekha S, Rammohan N.

Abstract
Background: Small group teaching (SGT) has grown in popularity in medical education as it offers a dynamic setting for learning and it is also learner centered.

Aim and Objectives: The aim of the study was (1) to compare the effectiveness of various SGT methods in enhancing students learning and (2) to assess the students perception on different small group learning methods.

Materials and Methods: Sixty second year MBBS students who gave informed consent were divided randomly into five small groups of 12 each namely buzz groups, fishbowl structure, crossover group, circular group, and horseshoe group. The individual facilitator was priorly trained and assigned to each group to discuss the given clinical scenario and motivate them. Pre- and post-assessments were done based on multiple-choice questions. Students perception on different small group learning methods was evaluated based on five-point Likert scale. Data analyzed in SPSS software version 23 using paired t-test and ANOVA with Scheffe (post hoc).

Results: There was a significant difference in pretest and post-test mean scores in each group (P < 0.01) and also in the mean gain between the groups (P < 0.01). Gain in performance in post-test was high in circular group (4.08) followed by fishbowl (3.50) and crossover (3.50). Small group tutorial teaching was agreed on by students and the faculties as more effective. About 88% in horseshoe, 85% in fishbowl reported that their technique improved their confidence level. About 93% of buzz group and 82% of horseshoe group students were able to identify their competency gaps.

Conclusion: Case scenarios should be included in all teaching-learning sessions to help to generate interest. Future avenues for research analysis of different SGTs and student-teacher perceptions across the educational continuum including undergraduate, postgraduate, and continuing professional education can be initiated.

Key words: Small Group Teaching; Physiology Tutorials; Student Feedback



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