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What are your opinions on PBL?

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    Hi all

    I am very pleased to hold an offer for medicine at university at a med school with a predominantly PBL course, for me this presents no massive problem, i enjoy working in groups and there is a small amount of lectures / individual guided learning to make up for the gap in knowledge. however before i firm this choice i would like to hear everyone's opinion on PBL. I dont wan't just a rant about how one system must be better because the med school you goes to uses that system if atall avoidable but rather an argument about how it determines your effectiveness as a practicing doctor, i would be really appreciative to any Medics in their last few years or even anyone with experience of PBL / Traditional teaching or an integrated course.

    Cheers guys
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    In my opinion, I find it a bit annoying. I prefer the structure and guidance provided by an authority on a subject. I know my strengths and weaknesses and that's why I didn't go for a PBL predominant course.

    I understand that doing it regularly will be a highly useful skill when you're a qualified doctor and you'll be very practiced at self directed learning.

    We're currently doing a PBL like thing every other week here at the moment, and I find it particularly difficult to learn the aspects that I'm not presenting. Other students just aren't experienced at orally delivering information. It may be that if you're doing this for five years, most of the time, they'll become quite good.

    All this is highly subjective, and I don't want to say the system is a bad one, it's just a bad one for me personally. It comes down to whether you think it's good for you, which you do, so it should be fine.
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    I think there's a lot of misunderstanding and variability between pbl courses. Lots of people think of it as a 'teach yourself medicine' course, and maybe in some places that has an element of truth. But I know that when I did it, we had lectures that covered every learning objective for the week's case, as well as anatomy & physiology workshops and clinical skills sessions to go along with the theme of the week. I never felt that I was having to learn it on my own, the pbl sessions were for us all to discuss any areas that we didn't quite understand and if we still had trouble then we could ask any of the lecturers to explain (that happened very rarely though, I asked someone once over 18 months and it turned out I was just overcomplicating things). So by the end of a week's case, we had learned things and gone over them 3 or 4 times.

    Now that I'm in the clinical part of the course, I feel that pbl has been far more beneficial to me than a lecture course would have been because I can compare the knowledge and skills of the undergrads (on a traditional course) to the graduate entry students, the grads are able to remember stuff we learned a couple of years ago (because we went over it soooo many times) and be able to use basic principles to work out things we don't know. The undergrads have commented on this quite a lot.

    I don't know if pbl would suit everyone, and I know that it's not like I described in every pbl course, but I think it can be better than a lot of people think. Also, pbl sessions are good for bonding over cake and sweets! You don't get that in a lecture.
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    Can u guys say which schools ur talking about pls
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    (Original post by .eXe)
    Can u guys say which schools ur talking about pls
    Yeah, I was talking about Nottingham. I was a gem student and now I'm on the clinical phase with the undergrads.
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    (Original post by Blorcyn)
    Other students just aren't experienced at orally delivering information..
    This isn't what PBL is supposed to be like. It's not supposed to be each student teaching the rest of the group about a topic, it's supposed to be the whole group discussing a problem, applying exisiting knowledge and coming to a common understanding.

    To be fair, students can't be expected to be able to discuss a subject they have very limited knowledge of, and this why PBL is more suited to clinical learning than pre-clinical.

    I found PBL in years 1 and 2 to be fairly useless, but it in clinicals, when people actually knew what they were talking about and could apply knowledge they already had, it was very useful indeed.
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    (Original post by OSharp)
    Hi all

    I am very pleased to hold an offer for medicine at university at a med school with a predominantly PBL course, for me this presents no massive problem, i enjoy working in groups and there is a small amount of lectures / individual guided learning to make up for the gap in knowledge. however before i firm this choice i would like to hear everyone's opinion on PBL. I dont wan't just a rant about how one system must be better because the med school you goes to uses that system if atall avoidable but rather an argument about how it determines your effectiveness as a practicing doctor, i would be really appreciative to any Medics in their last few years or even anyone with experience of PBL / Traditional teaching or an integrated course.

    Cheers guys
    Firstly, all courses are integrated - every single course incorporates various teaching styles, even the most PBL-devoted course like Manchester's.

    I've posted a little reply above this one about how I feel PBL is very suited to clinical rather than pre-clinical learning.

    Oddly enough I was chatting to two registrars about this today. One went to Liverpool and one to Birmingham, i.e. they both did completely different courses. They both agreed that PBL is very valuable at teaching you how to become an independent learner, which is vital when studying for post-grad exams and extremely useful for undergrad finals. The only problem with PBL is when it's not done properly, which unfortunately is the case for pretty much all of pre-clinicals.

    For me, I'm happy I chose Manchester and did a PBL course. I also have a BSc which was completely lecture-based - I definitely prefer PBL!
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    (Original post by theatrical)
    Firstly, all courses are integrated - every single course incorporates various teaching styles, even the most PBL-devoted course like Manchester's.

    I've posted a little reply above this one about how I feel PBL is very suited to clinical rather than pre-clinical learning.

    Oddly enough I was chatting to two registrars about this today. One went to Liverpool and one to Birmingham, i.e. they both did completely different courses. They both agreed that PBL is very valuable at teaching you how to become an independent learner, which is vital when studying for post-grad exams and extremely useful for undergrad finals. The only problem with PBL is when it's not done properly, which unfortunately is the case for pretty much all of pre-clinicals.

    For me, I'm happy I chose Manchester and did a PBL course. I also have a BSc which was completely lecture-based - I definitely prefer PBL!
    hey mate so for PBL, since there is no formal structured teaching...how do you know what's on the exam? does everyone just study what they think might be important?
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    (Original post by .eXe)
    hey mate so for PBL, since there is no formal structured teaching...how do you know what's on the exam? does everyone just study what they think might be important?
    There is structured teaching. In years 1 and 2 we had around 7 hours of lectures each week to complement that week's PBL case, plus labs/comms sessions/disection etc. The PBL tutor also has a syllabus and ensures you cover all of the essential points in each PBL session. The medical school also publishes the syllabus so you can guide yourself.

    It changes slightly in clinicals but is essentially the same.

    At Manchester you basically have to learn everything. We don't have exams on specific topics, i.e. anatomy or histology, you're expected to know everything that's been covered to that date and any of it can be on the exam.
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    (Original post by theatrical)
    There is structured teaching. In years 1 and 2 we had around 7 hours of lectures each week to complement that week's PBL case, plus labs/comms sessions/disection etc. The PBL tutor also has a syllabus and ensures you cover all of the essential points in each PBL session. The medical school also publishes the syllabus so you can guide yourself.

    It changes slightly in clinicals but is essentially the same.

    At Manchester you basically have to learn everything. We don't have exams on specific topics, i.e. anatomy or histology, you're expected to know everything that's been covered to that date and any of it can be on the exam.
    so is there 1 general exam that covers everything then? That must be a monster of an exam since it incorporates literally everything in medicine :O
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    Aka wiki-based learning, from what I've heard...
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    (Original post by pauline_lg)
    Aka wiki-based learning, from what I've heard...
    not that there is anything wrong with that..wikipedia is actually a really helpful resource and i am pretty confident that any articles it contains relating to medical school related topics will be pretty reliably sourced
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    (Original post by pauline_lg)
    Aka wiki-based learning, from what I've heard...
    Thats not exactly a compelling argument.

    Sounds more like hearsay to me.
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    (Original post by OSharp)
    Thats not exactly a compelling argument.

    Sounds more like hearsay to me.
    no no although he hasn't really justified his argument, the gist of PBL is self-directed learning and the best means of self directed learning is to do your own personal research about the topics you need to know, etc.

    The first (and maybe best for some) place to start any research = wikipedia.
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    (Original post by OSharp)
    Thats not exactly a compelling argument.

    Sounds more like hearsay to me.
    Seeing as she said it's what she's heard, I'd say that's exactly what it is.

    Edit for pronouns
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    (Original post by theatrical)
    Firstly, all courses are integrated - every single course incorporates various teaching styles, even the most PBL-devoted course like Manchester's.
    Whether a course is integrated or not does not mean that it has more than one teaching style. It's whether the course is split into pre-clinical/clinical, or if both are taught together.
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    (Original post by .eXe)
    no no although he hasn't really justified his argument, the gist of PBL is self-directed learning and the best means of self directed learning is to do your own personal research about the topics you need to know, etc.

    The first (and maybe best for some) place to start any research = wikipedia.


    (Original post by Blorcyn)
    Seeing as he said it's what he's heard, I'd say that's exactly what it is.
    woah woah woah, where are all the 'he's coming from? My name is Pauline.

    Yeah it's what I've heard from people who study there, wasn't meant to be compelling in any way.

    Wiki is fab, no arguments, but I feel teaching from doctors is essential too
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    Wikipedia is brilliant, don't diss.
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    (Original post by xXxBaby-BooxXx)
    It's whether the course is split into pre-clinical/clinical, or if both are taught together.
    Which courses don't have at least some element of a pre-clinical/clinical split?

    Most courses incoporate patient contact into the first few years, but these still have a clear pre-clinical/clinical devide.
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    (Original post by .eXe)

    The first (and maybe best for some) place to start any research = wikipedia.
    Wikipedia can be pretty poor actually...

    My lifesaver, but more so in clinicals, was www.patient.co.uk

    Another great one is http://almostadoctor.co.uk/ but again only really in clinicals.

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