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Is problem-based learning a better teaching-learning tool for emergency obstetric care for undergraduate medical students?

Nalini Arora, Tripti Waghmare, Narayan Jana.


Background: Clinical emergency management requires critical thinking, interpersonal skills in addition to content knowledge of the clinical issue. Problem-based learning (PBL) as a teaching-learning method for clinical emergency case scenarios has not been analyzed separately in the medical literature.

Objectives: The objectives of the study were to compare learning outcomes and perception of medical graduates for lecture-based learning (LBL) and PBL for emergency obstetric care.

Materials and Methods: In a randomized controlled study, 34 medical students participated in a LBL group (n = 16) or PBL group (n = 18). Lecture class of 1 h or PBL method was used for teaching “eclampsia.” Pre-test and post-test questionnaires were administered to both groups. Perception about PBL method was collected by closed-ended (Likert scale) and open-ended questionnaire.

Results: Mean pre-test score of the PBL group was significantly lower than that of the LBL group (5.5, SD 2.2 vs. 7.2, SD 2.7; P = 0.048). Mean post-test score in the PBL group was higher than that of the LBL group (13.1, SD 1.6 vs. 12.1, SD 1.1; P = 0.064). Difference in mean of pre-test and post-test score was more in the PBL group (7.6 vs. 4.9). Students perceived PBL as a better method for teaching obstetric emergencies as it promotes collaboration with fellow students (17, 94.5%) and critical thinking (15, 83.3%). Majority (16, 88.8%) of students preferred a hybrid curriculum.

Conclusion: While knowledge gain in PBL is at least at par with LBL, PBL is perceived as a better and more effective method for learning obstetric emergencies.

Key words: Education; Medical; Problem-based Learning; Curriculum; Eclampsia

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