Tutors: the valuable resource to enhance medical students’ motivation
Background: Students’ academic performance is largely affected by their motivation. Moreover, health professions’ education needs motivated students who are keen to tolerate the burden of clinical work along with the academic excellence to graduate competently. This study assessed the effect of tutors on students’ motivation.
Method: A cross-sectional, institution-based study of the first-year medical students at University of Khartoum, Sudan was conducted. A self-administered questionnaire was used comprising a modified Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) with students’ evaluation of their tutors after semester one community medicine course. A total of 237 out of 324 students responded. Pearson productmoment correlation coefficient was used to test the relationship between motivation and evaluation. Hierarchical multiple regression model tested the ability of evaluation factors to predict motivation score.
Results: There was a significant association between tutor’s characteristics regarding creativity in conducting the sessions, igniting discussion, and adequacy of knowledge about the course contents and the motivation score (p-value = 0.001). There was a strong, positive correlation between the perceived evaluation score and perceived motivation score (r = 0.505, n = 206, p < 0.0005). After controlling age, gender, paternal educational levels, and scores of Sudanese certificate upon entry, R squared change = 0.28, F change (9.181) = 8.416, p < 0.001. In the final model, the content of the course was statistically significant, standardized Beta = 0.285, indicating that content uniquely explains 5.7% of the variance in total perceived motivation score.
Conclusion: The evaluation score explained 28% of the variance in student motivation. Students’ motivation is significantly associated with tutor’s teaching skills concerning knowledge, creativity, students’ involvement, and attractiveness in conducting the tutorials. Improving course content can enhance students’ motivation toward community medicine.
Keywords: motivation, medical students, tutor, community medicine, Sudan