Advice For Succeeding in a PBL Curriculum

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by RaaMD, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. RaaMD

    RaaMD Caffeine Addict
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    For those medical students that have gone through a predominantly PBL curriculum, I was wondering what advice you would give in order to succeed in one. How much time do you put into your learning issue and how much do you learn from hearing other medical students teach you? Since lectures in the basic sciences are not separated but integrated together through your clinical case, how do you go about giving yourself a solid foundation? It seems to me that I will have to rely more on books and annotating in them rather than lecture notes.
     
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  3. 8744

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    The best advice? Don't struggle or call out for the guards, you'll only make it angry and it may hurt you instead of just sodomizing you. Hey, that's how things are in the Big House. Some are husbands...and some are wives.

    About the only thing you can do is grin and pretend to enjoy it. Maybe if you act real nice it won't pass you around to its friend, Diversity Training and Empathy Class.
     
  4. 8744

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    Oh and RaaMD, the only thing other medical students will teach you is self-control as you will continuously repress the understandable urge to leap across the table and pound on them so they will just shut the **** up.
     
  5. 8744

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    As to how much time to put into each learning issue, it all depends on your internet connection. Those with DSL or high speed cable modems may only need to spend twenty minutes on google downloading and printing the appropriate material to allow them to feign interest.

    Those of you with phone modems, and I know you are out there because I get emails all the time from people asking me to decrease the articles on the front page of my blog because their phone modems are so slow, are out of luck.
     
  6. soeagerun2or

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    If you can transfer. If not kiss-ass, suck-up, and back-stab all you have can so you look the best.
     
  7. RaaMD

    RaaMD Caffeine Addict
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    You guys are funny LOL.
     
  8. DoctorFunk

    DoctorFunk Get down with the boogie
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    Laugh it up now, because in the end the joke (PBL) is gonna be on you. ;)
     
  9. 78222

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    Run, run as fast as you can. ITS NOT TOO LATE. A PBL curriculum is a fate worse than death.
     
  10. 78222

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    I was giving a tour and had someone bring up "PBL" time. I laughed and told them how lucky they were our school didn't have that much of it.
     
  11. OncoCaP

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    What makes this so different from an UG discussion class? Except for the liberal arts premeds, most premeds (biology majors) I have known seem quiet and introverted. When they get to med school they start to talk incessantly?
     
  12. DoctorFunk

    DoctorFunk Get down with the boogie
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    You forget that the science major premed's tendency to be quiet and introverted is out-shadowed only by that same pre-med's predilection to do absolutely anything and kiss any orifice they can to get the best subjective grade possible.
     
  13. OncoCaP

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    So the more you talk, the higher your grade? If you like to give answers that are short and complete, is that a problem?
     
  14. DoctorFunk

    DoctorFunk Get down with the boogie
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    You tend not to know until you finish the course and get your grade, as the value of overparticipation is highly dependant on your preceptor. Just like essay exams, most annoying PBL students tend to err on the side of being too complete/detailed in their discussion topics.
     
  15. OncoCaP

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    Ok, this is making sense now. Thanks for the explanation!
     
  16. 78222

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    The biggest problem isn't even the ass kissing classmates. It's the fact that the classes are a tremendous waste of time that will double or triple your study time. It is incredibly inefficient.
     
  17. Ashers

    Ashers Bacteria? Don't exist.
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    And you still won't get an honors in the stupid section. I had a dumb preceptor for my psych PBL, and she probably didn't like the fact that every learning issue I did had nothing to do with psych.
     
  18. deuist

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    Amen to that! I just spent the past 6 hours researching a creating a PowerPoint presentation on Lupus. On Lupus! What a waste of time. I'd rather read the summary in First Aid and on eMedicine than have someone else give me that same summary with loads of clip art and oddly shaped fonts.
     
  19. Quidbert

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    .
     
    #18 Quidbert, Apr 17, 2007
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2009
  20. megadon

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    We have one PBL class at our school. It incoroporates nutrition, culutral medicine, special topics, health care delivery, etc. I am personall so thankful that it is the only class that is taught that way, or I would probably die from grades or self-inflicted injury. How you guys in Michigan deal with it I don't know, probably during the time you weren't stuck in lecture.

    The problem in my personal view, with PBL is it is extremely subjective. If the person in charge doesn't like your views, you are screwed, hence the two replies to my post, didn't meet their objectives, yet no standard is set. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder (sp ?).

    PBL may work extermely well with certain people. Starting neuro, so I expect to see their afunctional brain MRI pretty soon. Just kidding, it works for some and it the plague for others. It does cut down on class, since you have to learn it yourself. Big plus. Now we just skip class because the powerpoints and texts teach us better.
     
  21. Critical Mass

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  22. Doctor Bagel

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    No, which makes PBL even more painful. Nobody talks, and we just stare at each other. This makes me feel this incessant urge to say something even though I'm not caught up and have no clue what I'm talking about, so I do that and wind up looking like an idiot. :oops: It's just no good all around. :)

    I do find the aversion to talking in class a little odd. I never considered myself to be a big class talker, but I definitely feel more comfortable talking than a lot of my classmates. BTW, I'm talking about small group stuff, not class lectures. As a general rule, there's no need for anyone to say anything in a lecture.

    Editing to add that pbl has no grade component at my school, thank goodness. If it did, that'd be a reason to hate it even more. Also, that's why I have trouble understanding why people put so much effort into their learning topics. IMO, if it's not for a grade and if it's interfering with studying I need to do that counts, I'm going to blow it off. Silly overachieving med students. :)
     
  23. postbacker

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    So...does anybody have anything positive to say about PBL?

    Any anecdotal evidence that non trads from a lib arts background either like PBL or at least tolerate it? In other words, who are the people in your med school who seem to enjoy if not thrive in the PBL courses?
     
  24. Doctor Bagel

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    LOL, I'm a nontrad who majored in history at a small liberal arts school, so I guess theoretically I'm supposed to like it -- I still don't.

    As for who at my school enjoys it, no clue. I've never heard anyone say anything positive about it. The fact that it's one of our few required attendance events can't help.
     
  25. lilnoelle

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    I'm guessing most of us attend schools where PBL is not a huge part of the curriculum, but rather is sort of added as an afterthought. Therefore take our thoughts with a grain of salt. I attend a school in which PBL is minimal, and my opinion is that its a waste of time. I'm glad that I didn't end up attending my state school which is PBL based. But.... perhaps if I attended a school where PBL was done differently, I'd have a different opinion. The students I talked to on the interview trail that attended that state school said they really liked PBL.
     
  26. CCLCMer

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    I really think that what I've quoted here is the problem.

    I go to a school with a lot of PBL, and I love it. I've pretty much always liked it, although it was kind of bumpy and difficult and frustrating sometimes at the beginning. Most of my classmates who came in skeptical about PBL have also come around and they like it now too. But we have some major differences in how we do PBL versus what some of these other poor souls are apparently suffering through. :(

    One big plus is that we don't have any grades, GPA, or class rank here. CCLCM is completely pass/fail and unranked all five years. That is a huge thing. I don't understand how some schools can grade students and give them actual letter grades based on PBL sessions. :confused: I would probably hate PBL too if I knew I had to kiss someone's a$$ to get an A. That's just really ridiculous IMHO.

    Also, PBL was incorporated into our curriculum from the beginning, so it's definitely not tacked on as an afterthought. Everything else we do (seminars, journal clubs, research talks, etc.) complements the PBL part of the curriculum. It all goes together. You can't do PBL as effectively at CCLCM without the seminars, and you definitely won't get as much out of the seminars if you don't do PBL.

    Most important, there are only 32 of us, and the class esprit de corps is pretty strong. Our whole school is founded upon team-style education. I think that PBL is kind of like Communism. It works pretty well on a small scale where people all know each other and have a vested interest in each other's success. But try to implement it in an entire nation (or in a class of 200 people where most people barely know each other), and it's doomed. In my class, there is a ton of peer pressure, but that pressure is to do MORE and work HARDER than what you'd be doing otherwise. Whatever else might be going on in your life, you just do not go to your PBL sessions unprepared. Period. It's understood by everyone. I have at times skipped all of my seminar reading, stayed up most of the night, and even missed a seminar or two. But I have NEVER shown up unprepared for PBL, and neither has anyone else. You don't screw your classmates over, even if that means a little less sleep.

    It is obvious to me from reading posts by med students at other schools that my experience in med school is very different. It's a lot less individualistic at CCLCM compared to what people seem to be doing at most schools. And I am sure that plenty of people would hate going to a school like this. We have our share of annoyances too, like the dress code and the new seminar attendance policy. But if you're going to have a PBL based curriculum, I really think that this school has more or less gotten it right.
     
  27. CCLCMer

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    You bring up an interesting point. Many of my classmates attended small liberal arts schools and were not typical pre-med biology majors.
     
  28. CCLCMer

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    I just realized that no one ever answered your questions since we got caught up debating the merits of PBL. :oops:

    I would say that it takes me on average about four hours to prepare each PBL learning objective. That's probably a fair estimate for most people.

    How much I learn from other presentations varies, but I would say that the worst learning objective presentations are no worse than our worst seminars, and they are mercifully MUCH shorter than seminars. ;) The best presentations are simply awesome. A lot of my classmates have graduate degrees and previous presenting and teaching experience, so they're very good at presenting. Some people started out not as good and then have improved with experience. One person in my current group came in already having a PhD and does these absolutely incredible presentations on enzyme pathways. I think I learn the most from my classmates and the seminar readings, and I learn the least from the seminars. :p

    We get our basic foundation from the seminars and the seminar readings. There is assigned reading for each seminar that we all do. You are right that you cannot rely on lecture notes in a system like this, since we don't have normal lectures. We also don't get lecture packets like they apparently do at most med schools. Besides our textbooks, we sometimes have readings from the primary literature. One of the best things about the PBL sessions is that people find other resources that are better than what the course directors assigned, and then we can all use them.
     
  29. albaniandoc

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    This is a great post. I am going to a 50% PBL school in August and I am a little turned off by the idea of PBL. Anyone here from UM-Boca and if so what's your experience? I am honestly not a fan, but I guess I can learn to like it.
     
  30. Ashers

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    To be fair, I was a science major, BUT, I had a lot of random liberal arts electives for fun (had to find something to fill my schedule when I couldn't get my required major classes, and I took 5 years to grad); I also minored in 2 languages. I've had plenty of discussion groups, and PBL is nothing like them. I can't stand PBL, and I avoided my state like the plague school because it's almost all PBL.
     
  31. deuist

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    You can read my previous posts on the subject. I liked PBL during rheumatology because the learning issues were structured to coincide with class. Now, the topics get so out in left field that we're wasting time by creating PowerPoint presentations about information we'll never use.
     
  32. 78222

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    I have a liberal arts degree and I still hate PBL. The stuff you learn in medschool isn't stuff that should be sat around and discussed. What makes even less sense to me is the idea of having a student PREPARE the material. What is the point in professors if the students are the ones doing the work?? I dont want to pay 20k+ a year to hear someone rattle off some things they found on wikipedia.

    Really, the only true benefit I can see to such a system is that perhaps you could concentrate on the facts that are important for the boards, rather than obscure factoids that some PhD likes to test on because they are relevent to his research.
     
  33. Tired

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    Kind of sounds like your facilitators are doing a crappy job. The point of having a professor in the PBL session is to keep the learning issues relevant to the field under discussion, and to serve as a fact checker on the topics presented. If your group is citing Wikipedia, or you are way off topic, then your facilitators need to get tighter reign on their class.
     
  34. smq123

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    Don't listen to him. This is terrible advice.

    You should NOT "grin and pretend to enjoy it." You should, instead, look thoughtful and serious while pretending to enjoy it. Looking thoughtful and serious indicates to your group that you are duly contemplating these weighty learning issues with the consideration that they deserve.

    If you can pretend that you are barely able to curb your bounding enthusiasm, that's even better.
     
  35. JohnUC33

    JohnUC33 A Stinkin Conservative
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    I am in a PBL only curriculum, so maybe I can give a little advice. How much you enjoy PBL will kinda depend on the group you are in. If you have a good group, you will learn a lot each session and be so thankful for the curriculum. If you have a bad group, then you will dread coming to group and hate every painful minute of session. Basically, either way, get ready to teach yourself medicine. Don't come to group depending on some other medical student to teach you something. If you struggle, ask a professor or download a lecture on the subject. I personally think that group session should be about going over the learning issues in depth so that everyone walks away with a good understanding. But, you will have those gunners who can care less about how much someone else learns and will try to push the group at the pace of knowledge they have. So you can either sit back and let them dominate or be willing to make a few "enemies" by speaking our opinion. You get out of PBL what you put into it. I personally love the curriculum and thinks its the best way to learn medicine. Just do your learning issues and spend the extra time studying subjects that you want.
     
  36. MossPoh

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    I have heard the rumor of these mythical beings with phone modems. It is funny because my usability courses preach how your stuff should be accessible to everyone, and yada yada yada. Yet it seems almost impossible to have a fast website now that can handle a 56k...screw'em
     
  37. soeagerun2or

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    In my experience the guy who liked PBL was the guy who would cross-reference emedicine, harrison's, and robbin's into a 5-page novel for his question and then proceed to read the whole thing even though we have it in front of us.

    He was also the same douche who would ask questions at the end of our 2-hour, Friday afternoon sessions, to extend it for his own psuedo-intellectual masturbation. After 3 weeks of that even the preceptor would cut him off, "Not this time bud -we're done."

    We debated switching rooms but "forgetting" to tell him.
     
  38. yobynaes

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    wow and oops, seems im heading towards a school with heavy pbl emphasis.
     
  39. postbacker

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    Which one?
     
  40. Jasoos

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    I do. At FSMed, we have a 100% PBL curriculum. I personally prefer it to traditional learning because i can study in a way that suits me better. Our class is not that large, so our groups have 8 - 9 people only. My group is awesome, a wide diversity of people (yes, even though ther are only 9 of us) and some members have the knack of being able to explain difficult concepts in a manner that is very easy for us to understand. Yes, we do have problems, e.g., some members were very shy and uncommunicative at the begining, but I guess this is where we learn how to deal with such problems later in our careers.

    Damn straight. I think the aim of BPL is to get students to learn on their own motivation, and to teach how to find out and learn new things effectively. This will be important since new discoveries keep popping up in medicine. It also teaches other skills / habits that may be useful in a medical career, such as teamwork with less than ideal team members and working in an environment where your every move is being scrutinised and your immediate superior may not like you.

    Maybe this is why people have difficulty with it. Judging by previous posts, people on 100% PBL seem to like it better than those who do not.
     
  41. 78222

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    You know what suits me better? NOT HAVING ANY REQUIRED ****! If people want to go to lectures, let them. If people want to make groups and teach each other let them. If people (me) want to stay at home and learn on their own, let me...um THEM!
     
  42. Doctor Bagel

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    Exactly. A PBL curriculum would require me to go to school more than I go in my lecture-based curriculum, which makes it a loser in my book. I just want to sit at home and memorize all that endless [email protected] on my own.
     
  43. Critical Mass

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    My school isn't heavy on PBL, but here is the general scheme of things:

    The Pledge
    Today we're going to show you a case in which the pt has had an obvious stroke after admitting to much airplane travel. (Hint: we told you about septal defects in embryo yesterday.)

    The Turn (following session)
    Look at this echo. Wouldn't you know it? The guy had an ASD his whole life and tossed a paradoxical embolism into his melon. (Whoa, that was tough!)

    The Prestige
    Now fill out this evaluation form that says we presented you with this awesome exercise even though half the class is probably still lost. Of course you aren't getting much credit for participating, but now we're almost as cool as the other 124 medical schools. We rock.
     
  44. 8744

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    Didn't you get the memo? Larger groups are better, that way you have a greater chance of being ignored and a much, much greater chance of having a few PBL zealots in the class who will try to "hog the podium" all of the time thus giving the normal humans in the room cover and concealment.

    And "diversity?" Please. Hasn't that word been worn out yet? It's sick-making.
     
  45. 8744

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    But hey, if people in PBL curricula want to be spoon-fed the material by other students instead of learning it themselves like adults, well, that's there lookout.
     
  46. baylormed

    baylormed On the Search
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    Amen.
     
  47. deuist

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    That's just it---you don't get spoon-fed the material. Many times, I leave PBL sessions more confused than when we started. Lectures from practicing physicians are much better because they'll at least know what's going on in a particular patient. If I miss something in a particular article and don't bring it to light during a discussion, not only will I miss out on the material, but everyone else will as well.
     

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