Effects of tutor-related behaviours on the process of problem-based learning

Esther Chng*, Elaine H.J. Yew, Henk G. Schmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Tutors in a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum are thought to play active roles in guiding students to develop frameworks for use in the construction of knowledge. This implies that both subject-matter expertise and the ability of tutors to facilitate the learning process must be important in helping students learn. This study examines the behavioural effects of tutors in terms of subject-matter expertise, social congruence and cognitive congruence on students' learning process and on their final achievement. The extent of students' learning at each PBL phase was estimated by tracking the number of relevant concepts recalled at the end of each learning phase, while student achievement was based on students' ability to describe and elaborate upon the relationship between relevant concepts learned. By using Analysis of Covariance, social congruence of the tutor was found to have a significant influence on learning in each PBL phase while all of the tutor-related behaviours had a significant impact on student achievement. The results suggest that the ability of tutors to communicate informally with students and hence create a less threatening learning environment that promotes a free flow exchange of ideas, has a greater impact on learning at each of the PBL phases as compared to tutors' subject-matter expertise and their ability to explain concepts in a way that is easily understood by students. The data presented indicates that these tutor-related behaviours are determinants of learning in a PBL curriculum, with social congruence having a greater influence on learning in the different PBL phases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-503
Number of pages13
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

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