Student and tutor perception of a New Problem Based Learning curriculum at Faculty of Medicine, Makerere University
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Background: The Makerere University Faculty of Medicine started the implementation of the Problem Based Learning/Community Based Education and Service curriculum for incoming students in the academic year 2003/2004. It undertook an intense preparatory period of 2 years before implementation, which included sensitizing, and training tutors to take their new role. Objectives: To evaluate student and tutor perception of the New PBL Curriculum at the Faculty of Medicine and to evaluate tutors perception of how well the students were doing. Methods: The study was at the end of the first semester, after seventeen weeks of the new curricula implementation. A 19-item questionnaire was self-administered by the students. An open discussion led by one of the investigators followed that questionnaire filling session. A 5-point likert scale was used to rate the different aspects. A different questionnaire was administered to the 35 academic staff that had tutored the twenty tutorial groups of eight to ten students each. The data collected from the two questionnaires was analyzed using SSPS software. The Faculty Research Committee approved the study. Results: Out of 180 students, 135 students filled in the questionnaire. In addition 25 tutors out of 35 filled in their questionnaire. The tutors’ facilitation of the tutorials was rated highly by the students. Students’ rated their (students’) participation in the tutorial process as excellent. The students rated access to learning resources as inadequate and they were anxious as to whether they were learning enough. On the other hand the tutors were satisfied with the depth and scope of the discussions by the students. The majority of the tutors thought it was the right move to introduce PBL. They were however concerned about sustainability of the novel educational reform (PBL). Conclusion: The students perceived the new method as acceptable. They expressed anxiety and uncertainly as to whether they were learning enough. And whereas the students were not sure they were learning enough, the tutors were satisfied with the depth of knowledge exhibited by the students. To sustain the reform tutors’ concerns and fears ought to be addressed.