ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to compare learning need reports generated by students during their investigation of a problem-based learning (PBL) case with the faculty-identified learning objectives established for it. Four PBL cases facilitated by four group tutors were selected for comparison. The student-generated learning needs were collected for each and were compared to the faculty-specified learning outcomes. The results were analyzed by individual case and compared among the four student groups. Over 96 percent of the faculty-specified objectives across all four cases and across all four groups of students were covered by the student-generated learning need reports. Only one of the four cases demonstrated a statistically significant difference between small groups with regard to percent coverage of the stated case objectives. Our data agree with previous research findings. Although there was some variability in the learning objectives investigated by student small groups studying the same case, the faculty-specified case objectives were included in the student-generated learning needs. First-trimester dental students were capable of generating learning needs that produced an excellent match with the faculty objectives for the cases studied.
Journal of dental education 08/2011; 75(8):1092-7. · 0.91 Impact Factor