What is a good tutorial from the student's point of view? Evaluation of tutorials in a newly established PBL block course "Basics of Drug Therapy".Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2002 Jul; 366(1):69-76.NS
Problem-based learning (PBL) within a tutorial is the core element in a 6-week block course "Basics in Drug Therapy" recently introduced into the medical curriculum of an eastern German university. Under the supervision of one tutor a group of 6-9 students solved a total of six clinical cases related to drugs used in general anaesthetics; to analgetic/antiphlogistic, antihypertensive, cardiovascular and lipid-lowering drugs; to drugs acting on the central nervous system; and to intoxicating agents. By answering questionnaires students and tutors extensively evaluated each individual case as well as the whole block course. Factors evaluated also included students' and tutors' behaviour during sessions. The purpose of the analysis was to identify factors associated with the students' perception of tutorials with the aim of improving future courses. The ratings which tutorials, cases and tutor performance received by the students differed significantly between 14 groups that could be analysed. A ranking order of groups was established according to the scores they gave for the cases and the three groups with top ratings were further compared with the three groups with lowest ratings. We found significant differences between the two groups in their assessment of tutor performance and perception of team-work during tutorials. The tutors of the groups giving top ratings were considered to have more effectively supported the students' work during tutorials. Furthermore, self-assessment of the tutors judging their own ability to facilitate PBL correlated with their familiarity with case content. The marks achieved in the first national exam (i.e. "Physikum", equivalent to medical school entrance exams), performance in triple jump examination and multiple choice test at the end of the course, or marks obtained in the first state board exam after the course, did not differ between the two groups. From students' point of view, the main characteristics for a good tutorial as far as tutors are concerned consist of allowing enough time for discussion, accepting students as partners, refraining from interference and having expertise. As a consequence we will increase our efforts to optimise case quality as well as support and training of tutors in order to improve our new PBL course.