Gender-related differences in learning in student-led PBL tutorials.Educ Health (Abingdon). 2005 Jul; 18(2):272-82.EH
Male and female students behave differently in problem-based learning (PBL) tutorials. However, these differences could be partly attributed to faculty tutor behavior in male and female tutorials.
This study aims to examine the gender differences in learning outcomes between medical students when peer tutors facilitate PBL tutorials.
A questionnaire-based study conducted in single-gender student-led (SLT) and faculty-led (FLT) tutorials. The study involved third year medical students (n = 91) divided into ten groups (five groups each). The SLT groups consisted of 16 male and 28 female students, while the FLT group consisted of 20 male and 27 female students. Students evaluated their individual and group performance in tutorials and also skills of tutors. Student performance in end-unit examinations and their perceptions about peer tutoring were also analyzed.
A total of 290 questionnaires (response rate = 63.7%) were collected over the five-week period of the study. Although individual performance in tutorials and achievement in examinations were comparable in both groups, there was significantly higher group performance in female compared with male student-led tutorials (p < 0.01). This difference between male and female groups was not attributed to improvement in the performance of female groups, but rather to a decline in performance of the male SLT groups. In addition, both male and female students expressed facing difficulties in discussion and analysis of the problem in the first tutorial session.
Understanding the gender differences in the group behavior in student-led tutorials is important for PBL programs adopting this approach.