Problem Based Practical Courses (PBPC) Combine Student Motivation, Self-structuring and Responsibility in Biomedical Education
Basic principles of problem based learning (PBL), practical instruction schemes, and student directed study design were combined to problem based practical courses (PBPC). Three runs of a ‘blood pressure measurement’- PBPC with 266 students of engineering with a special medicine-track were conducted 2006-2008. A four-blocks structure was introduced: (1) literature-based preparation at home, (2) seminar-type lecture on the biomedical topics and the administrative issues, based on a Peyton-scheme, (3) small group work at home, analog to the PBL-concept: study design and study approval, measurements with the measuring instruments provided by the conducting institute, statistical analysis and interpretation, and (4) class based presentation of the results. This structure combines sufficient training of the skills, discussion of problems, measurement tasks definition, measurement protocol approval, and presentation of the outcomes.
A structured and transparent course guidance resulted in a high quality level of student defined study designs, as well as student participation and presentation. Students spent more time with the PBPC than with conventional practical courses. The ability to self-direct parts of the course and the fun aspect of the self-defined measurement protocols were reported to increase motivation.
As a result, the benefits of problem based learning courses and of practical courses can be combined to problem based practical courses. The combination provides high levels of skills training, responsibility, motivation, and positive learning outcomes.
Keywordsproblem based learning practical course didactic concept learner motivation self-directed learning skills training
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