Analysis of the psychological impact of Problem Based Learning (PBL) towards self directed learning among students in undergraduate medical education

  •  Srikumar Chakravarthi    
  •  Priya Vijayan    


The psychological impact of a learning tool towards self directed learning is an important outcome of medical education. Although problem based learning is believed to facilitate self directed learning, previous studies have reported conflicting results. This longitudinal survey explored the perceived psychological changes in self directed learning for two and a half years in an undergraduate phase 1 medical education program with an integrated problem-based learning curriculum. 170 of 200 students (response rate, 85%) completed the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale at five different time points: at the beginning of each semester year and at program completion. Scores were significantly lower during the first semester compared with other years, and fifth semester scores were significantly higher than in previous years. Scores on the three subscales (i.e., self-management, desire for learning, and self-control) increased significantly during the five semesters years of the programme. These findings support self-directed learning as a maturational process seen psychologically by the students. Implications for medical faculty and curriculum development are discussed. 

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