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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 440

Training Workshops in Problem-based Learning: Changing Faculty Attitudes and Perceptions in a Pakistani Medical College

1 Foundation University Medical College, Islamabad, Pakistan
2 Aga Khan University Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Z Zaidi
Jinnah Avenue, DHA Phase 1, Islamabad
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 21290363

Background: Problem-based learning (PBL) has over the years become a learning strategy established for teaching students in medicine. In order to use PBL as a teaching tool, faculty must be familiar with PBL and comfortable with the role transition from 'teacher' to 'facilitator'. This transition is critical for the success of PBL. This article describes the faculty development process undertaken in Pakistan at the onset of introduction of PBL in the curriculum. Methods: At the Foundation University Medical College (FUMC), we initiated a faculty development program in PBL. The program consisted of two-day, hands-on facilitator training workshops conducted five times over the year and led by in-house faculty. A total of 180 faculty members completed these workshops. The workshops consisted of interactive sessions on the philosophy of PBL, small group dynamics, the role of the facilitator, an introduction to case design, wrap-up PBL sessions and assessment in PBL. Participants were provided with pre-workshop reading material in the form of 'PBL Handbooks', which contained details of the PBL process and specific responsibilities of the facilitator. Participants were also given a chance to experience the role of the facilitator by facilitating the faculty-learner group through a PBL session and receiving feedback. A retrospective pre-post survey was conducted to gauge changes in participants' perceptions of PBL. Results: The faculty reported a significant increase in their regard for PBL as an instructional paradigm (p=<0.001). They also generally became more interested in empowering students with self-directed learning using PBL as a teaching tool and showed a greater desire to be facilitators (p=<0.001). Conclusion: This evaluation reveals that facilitator training workshops can help not just to improve the facilitation skills of participants but also to stimulate interest amongst faculty to use PBL in the curriculum. Such workshops can be run in Pakistan at minimal cost: the only cost we incurred was for photocopying the reading material. How much difficulty the faculty will actually have serving as facilitator in the PBL process will only become evident when they lead PBL groups over the coming year.

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