Complex Interactions Between Tutor Performance, Tutorial Group Productivity and the Effectiveness of PBL Units as Perceived by Students
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- Dolmans, D.H. & Wolfhagen, I.H. Adv Health Sci Educ Theory Pract (2005) 10: 253. doi:10.1007/s10459-005-0665-5
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Aim: Tutor performance and tutorial group productivity interact with each other in a complex manner. The aim of this study was to investigate how tutor performance, tutorial group productivity and the effectiveness of a PBL unit interact with each other. Three hypotheses were tested: (1) Does the tutor performance score differ across different levels of group productivity? (2) Does the group productivity score differ across different levels of tutor performance? and (3) Is the learning effectiveness score of a PBL unit related to tutor performance and group productivity? Method: Students rated the tutor performance, the tutorial group productivity and the effectiveness of the PBL unit. In total 287 unique tutors were involved and were categorized as having a relatively low, average or relatively high score on tutor performance. This was also done for the group productivity score. For each combination, average effectiveness score were computed. Furthermore, partial correlation coefficients were computed. Results: The results demonstrated that the average tutor performance score was higher if the productivity score was higher (hypothesis 1). The results also demonstrated that the average productivity score was higher if the tutor performance score was higher (hypothesis 2). Furthermore it was found that the effectiveness score was higher if the productivity score was higher. The effectiveness score was also higher if the tutor score was higher. The results furthermore demonstrated that the correlation coefficient between tutor performance and effectiveness of the PBL unit is 0.01 (n.s.) if the correlation between the two variables was controlled for group productivity (was 0.36). In addition, the correlation coefficient between group productivity and effectiveness became 0.39 if the correlation between these two variables was controlled for tutor performance (was 0.51) (hypothesis 3). Conclusion: It is concluded that tutor performance differs across different levels of group productivity and that the group productivity score differs across different levels of tutor performance. In addition, it is concluded that both group productivity and the tutor’s performance have an impact on the effectiveness of a PBL unit, although the correlation between group productivity and effectiveness is higher than the correlation between tutor performance and effectiveness. This finding illustrates the importance of the group’s productivity in PBL and the tutor’s importance and implies that schools should put more efforts in improving tutorial group functioning as well as in improving a tutor’s performance.