The effect of case nodes in problem-based learning on the length and quality of discussion: a 2x2 factorial study

Authors

  • Sheri FT Fong University of Hawaii
  • Damon H Sakai University of Hawaii
  • Marcel D'Eon Augusta University
  • Krista Trinder University of Saskatchewan

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.36834/cmej.71812

Abstract

Background: Problem-based learning (PBL) relies heavily on case structure for their success. To make more meaningful cases, faculty introduced a “case node” that requires students to make a group decision on the action they will take at a given point in the case. The purpose of this study was to determine whether case nodes enhance PBL discussions.
Methods: Two PBL cases were designed with and without a node. In 2011, 2012, and 2015, first-year medical students were assigned one PBL case with a node and one without a node. In total, 26 groups processed cases with a node while 27 groups processed the same cases without the node. All sessions were audio recorded and analyzed to determine the length and quality of discussions.
Results: Groups with a node, regardless of case (M = 25.62, SD = 12.25) spent significantly more time in discussion on the node topic than those without a node (M = 16.54, SD = 10.33, p = .005, d = .80). Groups with a node, regardless of case (M = 14.38, SD = 8.04) expressed an opinion significantly more frequently than those without a node (M = 6.07, SD = 5.80, p < .001, d = 1.19).
Conclusions: Case nodes increased both the length and depth of discussion on a topic and may be an effective way to enhance case-based instruction.

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Author Biography

Sheri FT Fong, University of Hawaii

I am an Associate Professor in the Office of Medical Education, and Director of Educational Research. I have an MD as well as a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology. I teach biochemistry in the preclerkship years and am course director of the heart and lung curricular unit in the first year. My research interests are effect analysis of curriculum modification to advance education of medical students.

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Published

2022-02-04

How to Cite

1.
Fong SF, Sakai DH, D’Eon M, Trinder K. The effect of case nodes in problem-based learning on the length and quality of discussion: a 2x2 factorial study. Can. Med. Ed. J [Internet]. 2022 Feb. 4 [cited 2024 Jul. 14];13(1):75-80. Available from: https://journalhosting.ucalgary.ca/index.php/cmej/article/view/71812

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Brief Reports

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