Job requirements compared to medical school education: Differences between graduates from problem-based learning and conventional curricula

Institute for Teaching and Educational Research in Health Sciences, Private University Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany.
BMC Medical Education (Impact Factor: 1.22). 01/2010; 10(1):1. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6920-10-1
Source: PubMed


Problem-based Learning (PBL) has been suggested as a key educational method of knowledge acquisition to improve medical education. We sought to evaluate the differences in medical school education between graduates from PBL-based and conventional curricula and to what extent these curricula fit job requirements.
Graduates from all German medical schools who graduated between 1996 and 2002 were eligible for this study. Graduates self-assessed nine competencies as required at their day-to-day work and as taught in medical school on a 6-point Likert scale. Results were compared between graduates from a PBL-based curriculum (University Witten/Herdecke) and conventional curricula.
Three schools were excluded because of low response rates. Baseline demographics between graduates of the PBL-based curriculum (n = 101, 49% female) and the conventional curricula (n = 4720, 49% female) were similar. No major differences were observed regarding job requirements with priorities for "Independent learning/working" and "Practical medical skills". All competencies were rated to be better taught in PBL-based curriculum compared to the conventional curricula (all p < 0.001), except for "Medical knowledge" and "Research competence". Comparing competencies required at work and taught in medical school, PBL was associated with benefits in "Interdisciplinary thinking" (Delta + 0.88), "Independent learning/working" (Delta + 0.57), "Psycho-social competence" (Delta + 0.56), "Teamwork" (Delta + 0.39) and "Problem-solving skills" (Delta + 0.36), whereas "Research competence" (Delta--1.23) and "Business competence" (Delta--1.44) in the PBL-based curriculum needed improvement.
Among medical graduates in Germany, PBL demonstrated benefits with regard to competencies which were highly required in the job of physicians. Research and business competence deserve closer attention in future curricular development.

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    • "Problem-based learning (PBL) is an educational method that uses real-world cases to facilitate learning through a studentcentered approach. PBL has been widely accepted by health care educators as a pedagogical/andragogical model to promote and develop essential skills needed by 21 st -century professionals (Schlett et al., 2010; Stewart, Brown, Clavier, & Wyatt, 2011; Tavakol & Reicherter, 2003). To corroborate this, the Association of American Colleges and Universities conducted a " National Survey of Business and Nonprofit Leaders " to determine which skills employers hold in highest regard when making hiring decisions (Hart Research Associates , 2013). "
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