Problem-based learning versus lecture-based learning in pharmacology in a junior doctor teaching program: a crossover study from northern India

Mohammad Imran, Md. Shadab Shamsi, Abhishek Singh, Shewtank Goel, Priyamvada Sharma, Sanjeet Panesar


Background: The undergraduate MBBS training in our country is still in the traditional mode. The main part of the curriculum consists of lecture, tutorial, practical and ward teaching classes with a limited number of problem based session. The objective of the study was undertaken to compare PBL with LBL in terms of students’ knowledge retention in the subject of Pharmacology in undergraduate medical training.

Methods: The current survey was planned and executed by the Department of Pharmacology in collaboration with Medical Education Unit, MSDS Medical College, Fatehgarh in the batch currently posted in the Department of Pharmacology for practical classes. Fifty MBBS students posted were enrolled for the study and were divided in 2 groups. One of the topics was presented as LBL for the first group and as PBL for the second group. The other topic was presented as PBL for the first group and as LBL for the second group. Intervention and control groups were taken as those used PBL and LBL respectively. T test was used to compare mean scores obtained by students in the intervention and control groups.

Results: Mean scores obtained by students in the intervention group (topics learnt with PBL) were higher (3.80 Vs 2.84) than mean scores obtained by students in the control group (topics learnt with LBL). Mean scores obtained by students in the intervention group were higher (3.72 Vs 2.96) than mean scores obtained by students in the control group.

Conclusions: The current study indicates usefulness of Problem-based learning (PBL) over Lecture-based Learning (LBL) in terms of retention of knowledge. However further studies involving more number of students are warranted in order to generate stronger evidence on this tool for improving medical education in our setup.



Problem-based learning, Pharmacology, Teaching, Lecture-based learning

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