Our results are similar to the results of the studies carried out among students and tutors to obtain their views on PBL20-22
. In a survey carried out among 1,287 medical teachers in US and Canada medical schools, a majority of the participants reported that PBL had apparent advantages over traditional lectures for students’ learning20
. Similarly, more than 70% of the tutors in our study found PBL to be a beneficial application for students and around 60% of them were satisfied with PBL. Considering the results obtained from our questionnaires, advantages of PBL over traditional teaching mentioned in the literature were also appreciated by both of the tutors and students in our study. High levels of satisfaction with the instruction method are known to have a strong relationship with high levels of achievement to the intended learning objectives18
It is notable in our findings that the satisfaction rate of the tutors with PBL is higher among those working in Basic Science Departments in both schools. In light of the fact that the main purpose of PBL use in medical education that is to teach basic sciences with the help of clinical scenarios, a higher satisfaction rate among tutors from departments of basic sciences is meaningful and shows that PBL helps in achieving basic science objectives as well.
Our student participants seem to appreciate the benefits of PBL to gain some basic skills such as problem-solving, communicating, reasoning, deciding, approaching the patient as a whole, integrating the basic and clinical findings and self-learning. However, an interesting finding is that the percentage of the students satisfied with PBL was less in the full PBL school than those in the hybrid curriculum school. This might have arisen from the difference in opportunities to compare PBL with traditional lectures in the two schools. It is obvious that the students in the hybrid curriculum can simply compare two programmers since they have prior experience in both of them and better appreciate the contribution of active learning approach. On the other hand, the students in full PBL school do not have much opportunity to make a comparison between lectures and PBL; moreover, they might have experienced some stress under pressure of the requirements of active learning in PBL.
In the hybrid curriculum school, the tutors working in the department of Surgical Sciences constitute the most dissatisfied group with PBL. The analysis of the answers to the open-ended questions by this group revealed that these tutors mainly complain about time restrictions and do not have enough time to spare for PBL activities during their routine work. In fact, the work-load of faculty in the hybrid curriculum increases since PBL requires an additional effort aside from the lectures. As a solution to this problem, the hybrid curriculum school paid special attention to assign each tutor only once in an academic year in order to decrease the additional burden of PBL.
The most cited suggestions by the tutors are selecting suitable subjects for self-learning and comprehensive discussions and better construction of PBL scenarios. On the other hand, the students requested the tutors to come to the discussion sessions prepared enough to facilitate the group. Other suggestions of the students were to ensure a certain standard among tutors (some contribute more, others less) and a better selection of the subjects and cases to achieve the learning objectives properly.
In conclusion, students and tutors of the full PBL school better appreciated previously confirmed advantages of PBL on lectures than those of the hybrid curriculum school. This suggests that a full PBL curriculum is superior to a hybrid curriculum in terms of demonstrating the benefits of PBL strategy.
The authors thank the Akdeniz University Research Fund for financial support.