Traditional VS Problem Based Program

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Finn, Oct 1, 2002.

  1. Finn

    Finn Member

    Sep 29, 2002
    Likes Received:
    What is the consensus about problem based programs when compared to tradional lecture based programs. Does anyone have any information on how the problem based students do on the USMLE Step 1?

    I know that many schools are going to problem based programs and I think that that may be the way to go. I just don't know if I can sit through two more years of lecture.

    Does anyone have any specific information on any one program that is problem based?

    Thanks for the help,

  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. Random Access

    Random Access 1K Member

    Aug 22, 2002
    Likes Received:

    (someone has to have something to say about this...)
  4. ScreamingTreesRule

    ScreamingTreesRule Senior Member

    Sep 7, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I've heard more negative than positive things about pbl. I've heard that pbl students do well in spite of their education. For instance, Harvard is pbl. However, the typical Harvard student is pretty intelligent, so they can do well regardless of their class structure.

    PBL would seem OK if you had already gone through med school and had already learned the stuff....but you gotta learn the information to begin with! That's why I would think that traditional makes more sense. Learn it first and then work on applying it...

    But I don't know that much about maybe someone else could give their input.

  5. Andrew_Doan

    Andrew_Doan Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
    Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved

    Oct 1, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Attending Physician
    I am the product of problem based learning, and I loved it! At my program, we had only 2 hours of lectures per day and then we broke off into small groups for discussions of cases, problems, or papers until lunch. Then we went off to study or nap. :)

    I found that problem based learning prepares students well for the boards because they've completely changed the boards from random multiple choice questions to clinical vignettes with directed questions. Problem based learning is also what you'll face in residency and in your career. For instance, we have morning rounds every day and clinical conferences in the evenings in my residency program. People present cases and you achieve an answer as a group. Bedside rounds are similar to problem based learning too. We discuss diagnosis and treatment. It's a team approach to finding the best clinical outcome for the patient.

    Medicine is about formulating a differential diagnosis and then applying knowledge from evidence-based medicine to formulate treatments and recommendations for patients. I think problem based learning prepares you well for this type of thought process required for your entire career as a physician.
  6. Mylaina

    Mylaina Senior Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Hey guys...

    I am currently in the PIL program at Drexel, and I have a few things to say about the differences between the two programs:

    1. It really depends on your learning styles. If you like sitting and listening to what the prof. says and you can learn from that, then lectures are great. If you like to get into things and discuss then maybe PIL is the way to go.

    My school is not completely Problem Based- we do have lectures (resource sessions- RS as we call them). And it might seem like "you need to know the material prior to applying it" but the way the program is set up this is not the case. We are given a very specific case where we know that the problem is confined to a specific system (i.e. limbs, lungs, heart) that convinently coordinates with our labs and lectures. We are kept on track (it's not a free for all as to what we learn) by these sessions. For each block we focus on a few sciences (i.e. this block is Gross and Microanatomy, and Embryo) and that is what we learn. With a little pathology, pharm, physio and immuno thrown in. We learn a great deal of critical thinking and reasoning skills as we go.

    So in each group session, we come up with "learning objectives" or things that we don't know about and want to learn about. Then we go home and study them up (and usually have one person come in as the "expert") and discuss at the next group.

    The one nice thing about PIL is that because we have to 'show our stuff" every MWF, it's hard to slack. Sure, you might not have things memorized, but you at least need a working understanding of what is going on. You don't want to look silly in front of you peers and maybe more importantly, you don't want to let them down!

    I think PIL students do a little more work (in that we have to look things up that aren't just taught to us- like the physio and immuno) but there are general pros and cons to each. Also, Problem based questions are incorporated more and more into the "lecture based" pathways/exams and if you pick up a gross anatomy book, these kinds of cases are at the end of the chapters.

    Board scores tend to be equal regardless of the path. If you have any other questions, send me an email. (about PIL or Drexel)

Share This Page