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A comparative study of two small group teaching methods - tutorials and seminar - as a supplement to lecture classes for 1st year MBBS students

Arpana Bhide Sharan Singh B.

Abstract
Background: Medical schools in India are changing their educational programs and teaching strategies to ensure that students have active responsibility for their learning process and are prepared for lifelong, self-directed learning. Small group teaching (SGT) is one such tool which helps to make learning process student-centered. In this study, we have assessed the effectiveness of SGTs as a supplement to didactic lecture (DL).

Objective: The objective of the study was to compare the effectiveness of tutorials versus seminar as a supplement to lecture class.

Materials and Methods: In Department of Physiology, SVIMS, Sri Padmavathi Medical College for Women, a DL class on a topic was taken for 150 1st year MBBS students which were followed by tutorials for one half of students and seminar for other half of students on the same topic. It was done for two topics. An assessment was done each at the end of DL, tutorials, and seminar. Students were also asked to fill a feedback questionnaire about the SGTs on a Likert scale.

Results: Tutorials showed statistically significant increase in scores in both the topics (6.955 1.83, P = 0.012 and 6.65 1.78, P = 0.006) whereas seminar showed statistically significant increase in only the first topic as compared to DL (6.84 1.77, P = 0.013 and 6.27 2.09, P = 0.25). There was no significant difference in scores between tutorials and seminar. Likert scale showed positive feedback about SGTs and students wanted more such sessions.

Conclusions: Since there was a positive response from students regarding SGTs as a supplement to DL, we would like to adopt a mixed approach with SGT as a component of the overall course to ensure knowledge acquisition and retention by the students.

Key words: Small Group Teaching; Tutorials; Seminar



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