University of Limerick
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What can we learn from problem-based learning tutors at a graduate entry medical school? A mixed method approach

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-05-08, 11:08 authored by Diane O'Doherty, Helena Mc Keague, Sarah HarneySarah Harney, Gerard Browne, DEIRDRE MCGRATHDEIRDRE MCGRATH
Methods: A mixed-methods approach was adopted, utilising two surveys and follow-up focus groups to fully understand the tutor experience. Thirty-three tutors took part in two online surveys with a response rate of 89%. Thirteen tutors participated in two focus groups. Descriptive analysis was completed on survey data and thematic analysis on focus group discussions which highlighted five main themes. Results: Tutors reported challenges with managing group dynamics, development of confidence in tutoring with experience and a willingness to learn from peers to improve practice. Findings are in keeping with previously published work. Results also identified several less commonly discussed issues impacting student engagement in PBL including the use of mobile device technology, unauthorised access to learning objectives and PBL cases, and the importance and need for professional development amongst tutors, including the impact of tutoring on clinical practice. This study revealed that experienced tutors spend considerable time preparing for PBL tutorials in the basic sciences and that this input is rewarded by the benefits it brings to their clinical practice. Conclusions: Understanding PBL from the tutor’s perspective reveals valuable insights which can inform ongoing tutor development and support. Limited research exists in the area of PBL tutor’s experiences which may be of interest to medical educators, clinicians and the wider medical community. Findings highlight the value of shared tutor experiences as a resource that can be capitalised on to benefit both novice and experienced tutors.



BMC Medical Education;18: 96


BioMed Central



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Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick



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