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Analyzing and Comparing the Effects of two Teaching Methods, Student-Centered Versus Teacher-Centered, on the Learning of Biostatistics at SBMU

Keywords: Teaching method , Biostatistics , Teacher-Centered , Student-Centered

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Abstract:

Because of its widespread needs in different scientific fields, Statistics and Probability theory have gained great importance and medical students as well as students of other medically related disciplines including nursing need to use them especially in their research projects in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate schools. This article deals with the question of finding the most effective way of teaching the necessary statistical skills to these students so that they can acquire more statistical knowledge and develop better problem solving and decision making strategies. This semi-experimental study has been carried out to compare the effect of teacher-centered and student-centered methods on nursing students’ learning of Biostatistics. The sample includes all the undergraduates of nursing School at SBMU (2006-2007). The sampling method used is convenience and includes 118 subjects. The teaching method is the dependent variable and the amount of material absorbed by the students, their age, marital status, type of housing, average of high school diploma, the grade average of the previous semester, number of family members and their prior experience are the independent variables. The grades of the students in the final exam, was taken as measure of amount of material absorbed by the students. The analysis was carried out using SPSS16 and the statistical tests used were t-test, ANOVA, and correlation test. The data revealed that the average of the students receiving student-based instruction was higher than the other students. However, no statistically significant difference was observed between the control and the experimental group in terms of the amount of teaching material learnt. The data also indicate that marital status, employment status, type of housing and prior experience all have statistically significant effect on the final grade, but none of them along with the teaching method exhibits a significant interaction with the final grade. Also the amount of material learnt by each student is almost directly correlated with his/her average of the previous semester (rp=0.402, p<0.001) and inversely weakly correlated with his/her age (rs=-0.220, p=0.017). Thus one can conclude that student-centered instruction is as effective as the teacher-centered instruction and other factors besides the method of instruction have a significant impact on the student’s learning.

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