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Title Problem-Based Learning May Lead to Better Student Performance Results
Clinical Question In dental pre-doctoral courses, does Problem-Based Learning (PBL) lead to better student performance on written exams and in clinical assessments in comparison to traditional lecture-based courses?
Clinical Bottom Line Problem-Based Learning (PBL) was found to lead to equal or better student performance on written exams and may aid in applying learned knowledge in clinical situations. This is supported by systematic reviews of student performance and a case control study that evaluated the satisfaction of dentists trained with PBL. Studies with higher-level validity should be conducted in the future to develop higher quality evidence on the outcomes of PBL in dental education.
Best Evidence (you may view more info by clicking on the PubMed ID link)
PubMed ID Author / Year Patient Group Study type
(level of evidence)
#1) 24385529Bassir/201417 articlesSystematic review of randomized trials
Key resultsThere are few well-designed studies evaluating the effectiveness of PBL in comparison to lecture-based courses. However, data in those studies that are of high quality indicate that PBL does not negatively affect student performance on written exams, and PBL enhances application of learned knowledge in clinical situations.
#2) 21546599Romito/201192 first year and 99 second year dental students Randomized Controlled Trial
Key resultsDental students’ performance on the written exams based on their level of participation in their PBL group had inconclusive results. First year students’ scores improved with their reported level of participation in their PBL group (p=0.04) while second year students showed no correlation between score and level of participation (p=0.20).
#3) 22251337Bengmark/2012128 graduated dentists from PBL program Case Control Study
Key resultsMost respondents perceived that their PBL dental education prepared them for their clinical career in dentistry (mean score 7.7, median score 8.1). 45% (n=58) ranked the PBL approach as the most valuable aspect of their education.
Evidence Search "Problem-Based Learning"[Mesh] AND "Education, Dental"[Mesh]
Comments on
The Evidence
Validity: A recent systematic review of PBL educational outcomes in dentistry by Bassir (2014) stated that all of the articles included in the review were moderate to weak in validity. The Romito randomized control study did not utilize blinding and used faculty-generated questions instead of a standardized test for their results. Both Romito 2011 and Bengmark 2012 relied heavily on self-reported questionnaires that are subject to bias on many levels. Perspective: While evidence indicates that PBL may have better student performance than traditional lecture-based and discipline-based education, the majority of written exams given in dental curriculum and Dental National Boards are still primarily discipline-based. The evidence on PBL could be of interest to professors and boards writing exams to improve student performance.
Applicability Applicable to the design of dental school curricula, or to professors who are individually interested in applying Problem-Based Learning to their courses. The issue of the effectiveness of PBL, which is interdisciplinary, versus standard, discipline-based curriculum has been a fundamental, and as yet unresolved question in dental education and other health professions education for nearly 50 years.
Specialty/Discipline (General Dentistry) (Basic Science)
Keywords Problem-Based Learning, Dental Education, Flipped Classroom
ID# 3040
Date of submission: 03/25/2016spacer
E-mail longke@livemail.uthscsa.edu
Author Keely Long
Co-author(s) e-mail
Faculty mentor/Co-author William Hendricson
Faculty mentor/Co-author e-mail hendricson@uthscsa.edu
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