With the introduction of problem-based learning (PBL) in medical and health professionals’ undergraduate courses, self-directed learning (also known as self-regulated learning) becomes an integral component of the learning process. There may be slight variations in how educators and students perceive self-directed learnin .However, self-directed learning provides an opportunity for collaborative discussion of the new information collected and allows learners to construct new knowledge as they address their learning issues. Therefore, self-directed learning is not just about researching for new knowledge or finding answers for questions; self-directed learning is about developing competencies, skills and attitudes that foster the learning processes. Interestingly, not all learners will be able to adapt this approach of learning once they enroll in a PBL course. The process will develop gradually and require a number of actions from the learner, including: (i) Realising the need to change their learning style to suite the needs of the medical curriculum, (ii) constructing a plan that accommodates the new learning objectives, (iii) Practicing self-directed learning and sharing their experiences with peers, and (iv) Continuing evaluation of their self-directed learning approach and improving their learning style. Therefore, the aims of this manuscript are: (i) discuss the meaning of self-directed learning in the context of PBL, and review the research outcomes in this area, (ii) understand the different factors that may affect student’s self-directed learning strategies, and (iii) briefly explore the meaning of construction of knowledge and how it can enforce students’ self-directed learning, integration of knowledge and deeper understanding of topics learnt.
Portfolios have been used in the medical curriculum to evaluate difficult-to-assess areas such as students' attitudes, professionalism and teamwork. However, their use early in a problem-based learning (PBL) course to foster deep learning and enhance students' self-directed learning has not been adequately studied. The aims of this paper are to: (1) understand the uses of portfolios and the rationale for using reflection in the early years of a PBL curriculum; (2) discuss how to introduce portfolios and encourage students' critical thinking skills, not just reflection; and (3) provide students with tips that could enhance their skills in constructing good portfolios.
Lectures are of great value to students. However, with the introduction of hybrid problem-based learning (PBL) curricula into most medical schools, the emphasis on lectures has decreased. This paper discusses how lectures can be used in a PBL curriculum, what makes a great lecture, and how to deliver a lecture that fits with these changes.
Problem-based learning (PBL) is an excellent opportunity for students to take responsibility for their learning and to develop a number of cognitive skills. These include identifying problems in the trigger, generating hypotheses, constructing mechanisms, developing an enquiry plan, ranking their hypotheses on the basis of available evidence, interpreting clinical and laboratory findings, identifying their learning needs, and dealing with uncertainty. Students also need to work collaboratively in their group, communicate effectively, and take active roles in the tutorials. Therefore, interaction in the group between students and their tutor is vital to ensure deep learning and successful outcomes. The aims of this paper are to discuss the key principles for successful interaction in PBL tutorials and to highlight the major symptoms of superficial learning and poor interactions. This comprises a wide range of symptoms for different group problems, including superficial learning. By early detection of such problems, tutors will be able to explore actions with the group and negotiate changes that can foster group dynamics and enforce deep learning.
For about 50 years, clinical pharmacology and therapeutics have been taught in the medical schools via traditional lectures and practical classes. During this time, significant changes have occurred in our understanding of medicine and basic sciences. Also the needs for our community have changed dramatically. The explosion of scientific discoveries, the use of new technologies in disease diagnosis, the availability of a wide range of therapeutic options, and the availability of knowledge to everyone via the Internet have necessitated new approaches for teaching medical and other health professional students. Finding information related to a topic has not become a priority in teaching, what has become more important is to teach undergraduate students how to think in addition to what to think. Applying information learnt and assessing its significance in real life situations has become mandatory. The aims of this paper were: (i) to discuss the model we used in introducing clinical pharmacology and therapeutics teaching in the undergraduate course at the University of Melbourne and the educational principles behind the model, and (ii) to discuss the new tools of assessment used in a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum.