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Does a problem-based learning approach benefit students as they enter their clinical training years? : lecturers’ and students’ perceptions

Statham, Sue B. ; Inglis-Jassiem, Gakeemah ; Hanekom, Susan D. (2014-10)

Statham, S.B., Inglis-Jassiem, G., Hanekom, S.D. 2014. Does a problem-based learning approach benefit students as they enter their clinical training years?: lecturers’ and students’ perceptions. AJHPE, 6(2):185-191. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.529.

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

The original publication is available at


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This paper presents the findings of a study completed to establish the differences between the lecturers’ and students’ perceptions of a hybrid problem-based learning (PBL) approach in successfully completing a PBL module in the third year of physiotherapy training at Stellenbosch University. Objectives. To assess the perception of the achievement of the PBL benefits, the module outcomes, the barriers to learning and positive aspects of the module. Methods. A theory-based evaluation approach using both qualitative and quantitative methods was used. All students and lecturers involved with the new module were invited to participate in the study. The participants consisted of 37 students and 11 lecturers. The data were collected using questionnaires and focus group discussions for both groups. The different components of the theory (PBL methods) were used as the guiding themes for the analysis of the qualitative data. The quantitative (ordinal) data are presented using descriptive statistics. Results. The results indicated that the module was enjoyed by both groups. The achievement of the generic outcomes for the module produced mixed results. Areas of agreement and areas of differences in perceptions relating to the achievement of the expected PBL benefits are discussed. Conclusion. PBL as a new methodology presents challenges for both groups; however, many of the benefits of PBL, in particular self-directed learning, were achieved. Some areas of shortfall are discussed.

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