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what do u think of pbl?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by ec37, May 13, 2002.

  1. ec37

    ec37 Junior Member

    Feb 24, 2002
    What do you all think about pbl vs. lecture-based curriculums? Do you feel that a certain type of student would do well in one or the other style? I am very used to lecture based curriculums so learning from pbl is new and intimidating. The school i am specifically talking about is cornell
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  3. altaskier

    altaskier Altaholics Anonymous 92' 7+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2001
    I think it really depends upon how you, the student, learns the best. I think traditional curriculum is better. But, I'd also like some PBL in there for courses that teach you about doctoring (not basic science courses). I think having some PBL in there mixes things up and keeps learning interesting. Plus, it is a good way to get acquainted with your classmates.
  4. Future_Doc

    Future_Doc Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 24, 2001
    Mmmm . . :p . . PB&J . . .mmmmmmm.
  5. TommyGunn04

    TommyGunn04 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2002
    Durham, NC
    yay for Seinfeld, Future_Doc!!! Junior Mint? <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> That episode was on just the other night!
  6. none

    none 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 27, 2001
    I'm more for the traditional curriculum personally. I thoroughly enjoy passive learning and hope this whole PBL group work thing is just a fad.
  7. The Fly

    The Fly Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    ''The Junior Mint'' is an absolute classic. . .

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> From Seinfeld's "The Junior Mint" <strong>
    Jerry: ...Over the balcony, bounced off some respirator thing *into* the patient!

    George: What do you mean "into the patient"?

    Jerry: Into the patient, *literally*!

    George: Into the hole?

    Jerry: Yes, the hole!

    George: Didn't they notice it?

    Jerry: No!

    George: How could they not notice it?!?

    Jerry: Because it's a little mint. It's a *Junior* Mint.

    George: What did they do?

    Jerry: They sealed him up with the mint inside.

    George: They *left* the Junior Mint *in* him?

    Jerry: Yes!

    George: I guess it can't hurt him... People eat *pounds* of those things.

    Jerry: They *eat* them, they don't put them next to vital organs in their abdominal cavity!
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">-------------------------------------------

    Clearly I have too much free time on my hands, or more likely a combination of the above and a link to a page with Seinfeld scripts. . .

    I was so happy they received the honor of #1 show from TV Guide! :D
  8. LBJeffries

    LBJeffries Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    The Great Plains
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by ec37:
    <strong>What do you all think about pbl vs. lecture-based curriculums? Do you feel that a certain type of student would do well in one or the other style? I am very used to lecture based curriculums so learning from pbl is new and intimidating. The school i am specifically talking about is cornell</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I think that going to a school with a PBL cirriculum is a little risky. From what I hear, they give the student a lot of the responsibility in his/her education. For the most part, we have all been learning "traditionally" for the past 16 or so years, and who knows how we will respond to a completely different teaching method. My suggestion is this; if you do really well learning by traditional means, then you may be better off in a tradiitonal setting (such as WashU or Pritzker). If you never really liked lecture based teaching and going to school(I am in this category), and you have always just taught yourself; you might be able to thrive in PBL and it may be worth the risk. Good luck!

    BTW, have you been accepted to Cornell? For some reason I remember you asking for help in deciding between Pritzker and Pitt, so has Cornell jumped in the mix?
  9. Grand mal

    Grand mal Junior Member

    Mar 25, 2002
    Davis CA
    Although I do not have first hand experience or anything to compare it to, from an outside perspective PBL seems like the ideal way to study medicine. I think alot of the criticism surrounding PBL stems from the lack of total emphasis on the basic sciences during the first two years. I can see how this could leave some students feeling less than completely prepared to take Step I. On the other hand, I consider the earlier exposure to patients a definite plus.

    I think PBL is the closest you can come to doing what you will actually be doing as a physician. A large part of being a doctor is problem solving. Being in a position to render care for someone who presents with a wide variety of symptoms can be a daunting task. As doctors, we will have to be able to rely upon our ability to recall aspects of anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, pharmacology,(to name a few), and apply them in the context of the patient in question. The more experince you have doing that, the more comfortable you will be with the process as a whole. PBL provides that opportunity.

    Also, I have heard a lot of medical schools being described as having a "competitive environment." I don't know for sure, but perhaps working together in small groups and actually getting a feel for the way your classmates/future colleagues approach a paritcular problem may lend itself to creating the type of team work that would be beneficial in any curriculum.
  10. lady bug

    lady bug 7+ Year Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    PBL seems to certainly be more challenging than traditional learning modes. But I believe it prepares you better for your work as a physician diagnosing patients. I personally prefer the traditional methods for learning the basics during the first two years.
  11. MorningLight2100

    MorningLight2100 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 18, 2001
    NY, NY
    I initially loved the concept of PBL, and really wanted to attend a medical school with a PBL-heavy curriculum. I tend to learn *better* independently than through lectures, and appreciated the freedom that PBL promises. However, after some careful thought, I realized that in such a curriculum I really would be relying very heavily on my own ability to gather as much material as necessary, and on the ability of my classmates to do the same. . . something that I realized was not ideal in learning material that might be necessary to help other people in the future. I also think that some of the case studies give too little information, i.e., there are many more factors that come into play than what they choose to list for you in a case.

    I think that it really boils down to how you learn best. Personally, I'd prefer a curriculum in which I'm certain that I'm being presented with all of the basics, because I'm learning the material from the experts. .. and THEN go on to use that base of knowledge in a problem-based format.

    Just my own inclinations, though. :)
  12. trout

    trout Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 27, 2002
    The great blue ocean
    I overall generally agree with morninglight many times it comes down to how much your classmates are willing to teach you and are they dependable....I also thought that a pbl would be a great way to learn but also realized that you need to hear/understand the language before you can start "diagnosing" people....however, on the flip side I have actually heard traditional lectures is not all that it is cracked up either because your learning ends up at the mercy of the instructor which means if he/she wants to go off on a tangent about some molecule and teach you 600x what you will need to know for the boards, you may spend many hours learning about it and although it may be relevant later it maybe far too detailed for the boards making it just as difficult to gauge your readiness for the boards....
  13. dr. momo

    dr. momo Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 4, 2002
    revising curriculums seems to have become trendy with med schools starting a few years back. i think pbl a reaction to the criticism that medical school is all about "memorization." med schools and pre-meds like the idea that they're doing problem solving instead of just straight regurgitation of facts. although i think pbl is great where it applies, there are some things that just make sense to be taught in lecture format. some med schools tried too hard to become all pbl and then ended up going back to part-lecture. personally, i'd rather sit in a big lecture hall where i can sleep if i get bored....but i'm sure there are some people who learn better in a small-group, more active setting. :p :)
  14. ec37

    ec37 Junior Member

    Feb 24, 2002
    just fyi, i was deciding between pritzker and pitt and chose pitt because of the pbl/lecture hybrid. I just got off the cornell waitlist today.
  15. LBJeffries

    LBJeffries Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 17, 2001
    The Great Plains
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by ec37:
    <strong>just fyi, i was deciding between pritzker and pitt and chose pitt because of the pbl/lecture hybrid. I just got off the cornell waitlist today.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Congrats!! If you don't mind me asking, how did you find out about Cornell?
  16. analu

    analu Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    As part of the tour for my med school, I was able to sit in with MS-2's in an actual tutorial session...AND IT WAS TERRIFIC! The big benefits: learning is self-directed, cooperative, and contextual...and since physicians need to be lifetime learners, PBL's a perfect way to introduce med students to the skills they'll need for the rest of their careers. I am excited to be involved in a PBL curriculum!
  17. otter

    otter Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 31, 2001
    From my impressions, this is what I think. If we didn't have to take the boards, I'm all for PBL. But, because of the boards, I feel like I'll be safer by learning through textbooks and lectures.
  18. analu

    analu Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    Hey otter, PBL does take a LOT of discipline in order to keep up...which is why I'm resigned to taking a prep class (Kaplan) for Part 1. Yeah, I'm one of the undisciplined ones! :p
  19. G3


    analu, I noticed your from HI. are you attending UH? I'm visiting my mom in Honolulu right now and just got back from a weekend in Hilo. I am always amazed at the diversity of natural and cultural entities in your state when I visit.
  20. G3


    although I have no experience
    w/ pbl, I am looking forward
    to utilizing the system. Not
    only does it allow you be
    encode the information in a
    format that will be similar
    to situation in which you will
    be retrieving it. But you
    will also be trained in solving,
    researching, clinical problems
    in which you are not fully
    familar w/, a situation that
    will most certainly occur during
    and post clinicals.
  21. leorl

    leorl Physician Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Jan 2, 2001
    I can't stand lecture. I go, I fall asleep and thus the whole time is wasted. Most of my college material has been learned through reading textbooks and articles myself, not through what some prof said. For me, it's just a waste of time.
    My junior year abroad made me realize that I like other non-traditional (US) education systems much better. In europe/australia, they employ pbl somewhat, although probably not in our same sense. Most their classes meet only once a week, necessitating that the students spend outside time gathering materials/sources and preparing themselves. I like that a lot better because it's at your convenience - it frees up some of your time so that you can do other things you enjoy. You do have to be disciplined, but I don't think that's a problem, and making the switch doesn't require years of adapting. You learn the same amount of material, and there is ample help should you need it. I guess with any other thing, it's what you make of it that counts. If you don't put in the effort, you won't make the grade.
  22. ec37

    ec37 Junior Member

    Feb 24, 2002
    lbjeffries- i found out via e-mail
  23. ncmd

    ncmd Member 7+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2002
    When I interviewed at a PBL based school, the interviewer actually told me that the school was considering reverting back toward a more traditional curriculum b/c a large number of students not passing Step 1, and overall the scores were low compared to other schools. I think the idea of it sounds great, but perhaps it would work better in some courses than others . . .
  24. nebula7

    nebula7 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 10, 2002
    The school I will be enrolling in this fall (Mercer University) has a PBL curriculum. They have a 98% pass rate on Step I according to their dean.Although I'm not sure how this figure compares to other schools (PBL or traditional), that sounds pretty good to me. Like others have stated, I think you just really have to be disciplined. Students there say you get out of class (tutorial groups, actually) at noon, so you have to be able to make yourself study in all that free time.
  25. TommyGunn04

    TommyGunn04 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2002
    Durham, NC
    Although passing the boards is obviously important, I'd argue that there are other important things that SHOULD be considered as well. While PBL may be a less "efficient" way to learn, in that more time/effort may be required to learn a particular concept, it also appears to have a much higher retention rate. So when you're finally a doctor, the things you learned in PBL sessions are likely to be the ones you can most easily/vividly recall, since you actually took part in solving the problem, doing research, etc. In general it seems like a much more rewarding and engaging learning experience when compared to a traditional lecture. Of course, it doesn't always necessarily work this way in practice, especially if you don't put effort into your PBL work.

    In addition, the boards don't test how well you work with other people, how well you're able to be a "life-long learner" do research on your own, etc., which are all EXTREMELY valuable skills you exercise through PBL. So while PBL alone surely isn't the best way to learn medicine (as the board failures demonstrate), I think that any curriculum today which doesn't incorporate some sort of PBL is lacking. Some sort of integration seems best, and most schools have adopted such systems or are in the process of doing so.

    That's my 2 cents... :D
  26. TommyGunn04

    TommyGunn04 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2002
    Durham, NC
    I'm just bumping this up for JulianCrane :)
  27. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Alexandria, VA
    Tell you what, we mix it up a bit at Tulane ...

    We do about 90% traditional and about 10% PBL.

    What I like about traditional:

    They tell you exactly what you will eventually need to know for the test. Then they teach it to you. Then they test you on exactly what they said they would test you on.

    What I don't like:

    I hate waking up early. So, I don't. Which means I learn all this stuff on my own anyway. Which makes medical school a really expensive self study experience. But, I do learn it, somewhat.

    What I like about PBL:

    It's real cases. Usually, a Tulane doctor has an interesting case, and they write up the case with a prof. Or, they just make up a case, just to review all the principals. The cool thing is, if you have studied, all the stuff comes together and you see how the stuff you learn will work in a clinical context. And that is money. And, near exams, it's a great way to put together some of the major concepts (acid/base was cleared up for me in a PBL). Best of all, they are always in the afternoon, which means I have no problem coming.

    What I don't like:

    It's too proctor/group dependent. Sometimes both suck. Also, if you aren't prepared, it friggin blows, b/c it just reminds you how far behind you are. These two problems are HUUUGE, and that's an important reason why I'm glad we aren't too PBL dependent.

    I think we should have slightly less lectures and slightly more PBL. Like one a week for the entire year. Or maybe 3 every two weeks. So, that would be about 35-40 cases. We've done about 15, I think.

    But, I think based on what USMLE looks like (I'm a first year, so I don't much about it), I think it would be foolish to think a PBL curriculum would prepare you for Step 1. PBL alone won't do it, you have to put in a lot of your own time to do really well. B/c there is only so much you can learn in a PBL ... the PBLs don't focus on weird ass things like Lesch-Nyman or Hurler's, they focus on important things like diabetes management or an MI.

    However, the cool thing about a full PBL curriculum is that you would have so much free time to study for the boards, while preparing for the cases. So, it could work if you were decently disciplined.

    Good luck,

  28. Smoke This

    Smoke This Sweet cuppin' cakes! 10+ Year Member

    Personally, I'm not a fan of PBL. In moderation, it definitely would keep things interesting and would be fun as well, but by and large, I think it's a waste of my time. I learn better in lecture and would rather learn and synthesize information from that.
  29. JulianCrane

    JulianCrane The Power of Intention 10+ Year Member

    Dec 22, 2001
    Which schools are PBL heavy and which schools tend to emphasize the traditional lecture style? Are there certain regions of the country that are more keen on one style of learning?
  30. TommyGunn04

    TommyGunn04 10+ Year Member

    Mar 7, 2002
    Durham, NC
    I've heard that Harvard is pretty PBL-heavy, and I know Cornell emphasizes it quite a bit too (although less than Harvard from what I've heard). From what I've seen, most schools have some degree of it, but there's definitely a lot of variation.
  31. RLMD

    RLMD blah 7+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    Pitt and Rochester also have a good amount of pbl in their curriculum. Maybe its a northeast thing, I dont know.
  32. doctormo

    doctormo Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2002
    nashvegas baby
    university of missouri columbia is basically pure pbl and they too have boasted setting the curve for step one. i was scared to death of this at first but took a pbl human genetics class last semester and decided that pbl is better for me. i learn it more easily in lecture, but i remember more of it and can apply it to different situations if i saw it first in a pbl situation. i'm also waitlisted at slu (at or below average step one scores according to dean willmore) so i may end up at a pure pbl or a school with a hybrid curriculum... we'll just have to WAIT SOME MORE i guess

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