First-year Medical students’ perception of the conventional teaching methods and Problem-based learning curriculum at Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha South Africa.

  • E. Umapathy
Keywords: Problem-based learning, MBChB, Semester, Cell block, GIT block, Computer skills, Human behavioural sciences


Background: Conventional teaching methods may not be an ideal solution to comprehensive and integrated learning. Medical schools throughout the world have adopted a PBL learning approach in their curriculum. There is general consensus that PBL engages more student involvement and challenges self-directed learning. Variations in success at different schools are probably impacted by multiple variables, such as culture, prior learning experience, and educational expectations. This study is mainly aimed at identifying students’ perception of the conventional and PBL curricula. Methods: 98 medical students (2014) participated in the survey and were asked to fill a questionnaire that had questions on various aspects of the teaching, content and students’ perception of overall content load and assessment aspects. A similar study was done successively from 2010-2012. Results: The module on computer skills (80%) and Human behavioural sciences (75%) were identified as the least enjoyable subjects to learn. Semester I (lecture based) was identified as easier (62%) than the semester II (PBL based) which is significantly different from the previous 2 years. The Cell Block seems to be difficult (56%) than the GIT block which is another deviation from previous years. Discussion:  Content overload is the major reason identified as the factor responsible for finding a block difficult (85%). Conclusion: While senior faculty usually receives high ratings by students, limited resources usually dictate the allocation of multiple PBL tutors, ranging widely in expertise. Bearing this in mind, block Directors should allocate appropriate time resources to promote skills that help facilitate problem-based discussions to provide tutors and students with an educational experience that is both effective and gratifying.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2449-108X
print ISSN: 2315-9987