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Problem Based Learning in Nursing Education

DOI: 10.1155/2014/125707

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Abstract:

Background. McMaster University first introduced Problem Based Learning (PBL) in the mid 1960s. However, measuring the relationship between PBL for undergraduate nursing programs and students test performance has not yet been assessed in the USA. Purpose. The main purpose of this paper is to describe the effectiveness of PBL on senior student test performance on content related to PBL in a BSN program. Diabetes mellitus and renal insufficiency were taught by traditional lecture format in the previous years. This was the first year we taught this content by the problem based learning method. Method. Historical control group was used to compare the test performances between the PBL groups and the traditional group using Student’s t-test. Result. The mean of diabetes mellitus related questions missed by the PBL group was less than the traditional group ( , and ). The mean of renal insufficiency related questions missed by the PBL group was more than the traditional group ( , and ). Discussion. This study produced inconclusive findings. Factors that could be attributed to their performance will be discussed. 1. Introduction McMaster University Medical School conceptualized Problem Based Learning (PBL) which is “the learning that results from the process of working towards the understanding of, or resolution of, a problem” [1]. The core value of PBL is to use a contextualized problem to motivate learners to actively seek relevant knowledge using all possible resources. PBL is intended to equip students with hands-on learning strategies to help them meet their future responsibilities and establish a lifelong knowledge-seeking habit which is self-directed learning. PBL has since been adopted by other medical schools and adapted by other disciplines leading to an assortment of learning and teaching models. Studies indicate that students prefer PBL to traditional lecture formats [2–5]. Numerous studies indicate that the process of learning is different in PBL and PBL challenges students to become self-directed life learners [2, 3, 6]. Few studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of PBL in an undergraduate nursing program on student test performance. This paper reports the effectiveness of PBL by comparing the test performances from the PBL group and the traditional group in an undergraduate nursing program in a private university in the Southeastern United States. 2. Background 2.1. PBL and Learning Styles Lecture based formats tend to promote “surface” learning, where the student is able to reiterate what was covered in the subject-centered material. On the

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