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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 200-201

Problem-based learning in undergraduate medical curriculum: An Indian perspective

Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication13-Dec-2013

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh R Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2321-4848.123057

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Problem-based learning in undergraduate medical curriculum: An Indian perspective. Arch Med Health Sci 2013;1:200-1

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Problem-based learning in undergraduate medical curriculum: An Indian perspective. Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2013 [cited 2023 Mar 29];1:200-1. Available from: https://www.amhsjournal.org/text.asp?2013/1/2/200/123057


Teaching-learning method is an evolving concept requiring regular update of both the students as well as the teachers. [1] Sufficient evidence is available to support that adopting newer teaching-learning methods in undergraduate medical education results in mutual betterment of both learners and teachers. [2]

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered approach in medical education, which facilitates the need of understanding the problem thoroughly and then retaining the knowledge by exposing students to skills such as clinical reasoning, critical thinking, and self-directed learning. [1],[3],[4] For implementing problem-based learning, six essential steps have been identified namely, starting with the essential question, designing a plan for the project, creating a schedule, monitoring the students and the progress of the project, assessing the outcome, and finally, evaluating the experience of the learners. [5]

In the Indian context, especially with respect to medical education, teaching students with the help of problem-based learning is still in its early days. Right now, as a part of curricular reforms in undergraduate medical education, medical education units have been set-up in different medical colleges in the entire country, which orient the teaching faculties from different specialties about PBL, its advantages, its utility in different settings so as to incorporate PBL in their teaching. In our experience of implementation of PBL among clinical postings and teaching, we have realized that PBL helps students in conceptual understanding of the simulated problem and thus assisting students in developing long-term skills.

However, different types of limitations pertaining to students (viz. familiarity with traditional methods of teaching, need to remain involved full-time); teacher (viz. untrained status in PBL, resistance from teachers to adopt a newer method of teaching, lesser control on students as even the facilitator lacks necessary answer); curriculum (viz. no fixed curriculum / textbook, lack of well-developed mechanism for assessment of students progress / course in meeting the educational objectives); medical college (viz. hesitation from administrators of medical college to seek advice from experts in PBL, no mandatory guidelines from medical council of India for PBL inclusion in curriculum); [6] resource constraints; and time-consuming nature of the entire process have been identified, limiting the application of problem-based learning in medical education presently in India.

To conclude, problem-based learning in undergraduate curriculum is a style of active learning with an aim to help the students develop flexible knowledge, effective problem-solving skills, self-directed learning, effective collaboration skills, and intrinsic motivation.

  References Top

1.Koh GC, Khoo HE, Wong ML, Koh D. The effects of problem-based learning during medical school on physician competency: A systematic review. CMAJ 2008;178:34-41.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Lubawy WC. Evaluating teaching using the best practices model. Am J Pharm Educ 2003;67:87.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Neville AJ. Problem-based learning and medical education forty years on - A review of its effects on knowledge and clinical performance. Med Princ Pract 2009;18:1-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Barrett T. In: Handbook of enquiry and problem-based learning. Barrett T, Labhrainn IM, Fallon H, editor. Understanding problem-based learning. Galway: CELT; 2005. p. 13-25.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Schmidt HG, Rotgans JI, Yew EH. The process of problem-based learning: What works and why. Med Educ 2011;45:792-806.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Chandramohan P. Medical education in India at crossroads: Issues and solutions. Arch Med Health Sci 2013;1:80-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
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This article has been cited by
1 Implementation of problem-oriented learning sessions in para-clinical years of medical college
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava,Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava
Research and Development in Medical Education. 2019; 8(1): 38
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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