Problem-based learning improves the academic performance of medical students in South Africa
WHO Collab. Ctr. Prob.-based Lrng., Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Transkei, Transkei, South Africa; Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Transkei, UNITRA, Post-bag X1, Transkei 5117, South Africa
Iputo, J.E., WHO Collab. Ctr. Prob.-based Lrng., Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Transkei, Transkei, South Africa, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Transkei, UNITRA, Post-bag X1, Transkei 5117, South Africa; Kwizera, E., WHO Collab. Ctr. Prob.-based Lrng., Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Transkei, Transkei, South Africa
OBJECTIVES: To compare the academic performance of students on the previous, classical, discipline- and lecture-based, traditional curriculum with that of subsequent students who followed an innovative, problem- and community-based curriculum. METHODS: This was a retrospective study that analysed the records of students who enrolled on the doctor training programme between 1985 and 1995, and the records of students who graduated from the programme between 1989 and 2002. OUTCOMES: The educational outcomes assessed were the attrition and graduation rates on the traditional curriculum and those on the innovative curriculum. RESULTS: A total of 149 students on the traditional curriculum and 145 students on the innovative curriculum were studied. Overall, 23% of the traditional cohort as opposed to 10.3% of the innovative cohort dropped out of the course (P = 0.0041) and 55% of the traditional cohort as opposed to 67% of the innovative cohort graduated within the minimum period of 6 years (P < 0.001). The mean throughput period was 6.71 (0.09) years in the traditional cohort and 6.44 (0.07) years in the innovative cohort (P = 0.014) CONCLUSION: The introduction of the problem-based learning/community-based education (PBL/CBE) curriculum coincided with improved academic performance. The PBL/CBE approach to medical education may have contributed to this improvement.
Curriculum; Education, medical, undergraduate/ *methods; Educational measurement; Problem-based learning/*methods; Retrospective study; Students, medical
academic achievement; adult; article; cohort analysis; community; controlled study; curriculum; education program; educational technology; female; human; intermethod comparison; learning; male; medical education; medical student; normal human; outcomes research; problem based learning; problem solving; retrospective study; South Africa; teaching; Curriculum; Education, Medical, Undergraduate; Educational Measurement; Educational Status; Female; Humans; Male; Problem-Based Learning; Retrospective Studies; South Africa; Students, Medical