Biomedical Research

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- Biomedical Research (2010) Volume 21, Issue 1

Problem based learning - An approach to learning pharmacology in medical school

Problem based learning (PBL) is an approach to professional education that has been adopted in higher education in various countries. But in India, PBL is still not included in the curriculum in many medical schools. Our aim is to study the changing pattern of learn-ing approaches to pharmacology adopting PBL by undergraduate students of an Indian medical school. Medical students(n= 143) at Melaka Manipal Medical College undertake a 12 week learn-ing block of general pharmacology, Chemotherapy and blood and 10 week block of CNS, ANS , Skin, musculoskeletal pharmacology in the first semester of second year. During this period only the regular didactic lectures and self directed study were included in the curriculum. With the intention of enhancing the use of deep approach and decreasing the surface and strategic approaches to learning, PBL was incorporated in the 3rd and 4th blocks (10 and 8 wks respectively). The Short Inventory of Approaches to Learning (SIAL) was used to assess the impact of PBL after 2nd and 4th block. The PBL has positively affected the learning approaches of the students as measured by the SIAL. After incorporation of PBL, there was an increase in deep learning and surface learning showed a decrease. There was increase in deep approach to learning in pharmacology after the introduction of PBL in the curriculum. It made the students to know the need for learning, motivated them towards the deep learning which can make them better clinicians in future. Hence PBL should be an integral part of medical curriculum.

Author(s): Sachidananda Adiga and Usha Adiga

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