12 tips untuk pbl yang berkesan


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12 tips untuk pbl yang berkesan

  1. 1. 2012; 34: 198–204 TWELVE TIPS Twelve tips for effective lecturing in a PBL curriculum ALAM SHER MALIK & RUKHSANA HUSSAIN MALIK Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia Abstract Background: Retaining lectures in problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum places new demands on lecturers. In addition to subject knowledge, the lecturers must know the overall aims of the lectures, their context in the course, their relation to the subsequent examinations and the underlying educational philosophy. Aim: Aim of this communication is to propose ways that will transform the traditional didactic lectures into PBL-compliant teaching/learning sessions. Methods: Insights from the self-experience and that of colleagues and the feedback from students are synthesised with current literature regarding best teaching practices to develop these tips. Results: These tips, ranging from involving students in the learning process to a routine practice of reflection after delivering a lecture, highlight methods of preparing and delivering lectures that follow the educational philosophy underpinning the PBL approach. Conclusion: We believe that these tips by advancing the driving force for meaningful learning will transform the didactic lectures of traditional curriculum to interactive sessions that would enhance understanding, augment critical thinking and promote self- directed learning among students. Background In problem-based learning (PBL), learning is perceived as a qualitative change of one’s conception of phenomena and ideas and consequently, knowledge must be actively pro- cessed by the students. However Fyrenius et al. (2005) argue that with the awareness of the possible drawbacks of the large format, lectures can be used as valuable tools for learning, also in a PBL curriculum. Faculty of Health Sciences, Linkoping University, Sweden, when implementing PBL in 1986 decided to use lectures to introduce or summarise an area, elaborate on difficult concepts and phenomena or to introduce relevant research findings that were not available in students’ literature (Fyrenius et al. 2005). In addition to above reasons, Faculty of Medicine, Univrsiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Malaysia, while implementing hybrid PBL curriculum retained lectures ‘to cover the transition from traditional lecture-based teaching of schools to student- centred learning in university for new students’. The number of lectures decreased drastically as the students moved to higher classes. Retaining lectures in a PBL curriculum places new demands on lecturers. In addition to subject knowledge, it is of utmost importance that the lecturers know the overall aims of the lectures, their context in the course, their relation to the subsequent examinations and the underlying educational philosophy. A lack of awareness might, by jeopardising the driving force for meaningful learning, result in lectures that counteract the aims of the PBL approach (Fyrenius et al. 2005). Insights from the self-experience and that of colleagues and the feedback from students are synthesised with current literature regarding best teaching practices to develop these tips. Students’ feedback was obtained after 6 weeks into their first module of 12 weeks and also at the end of the module in the Faculty of Medicine, UiTM. These students had come directly from schools where they were taught strictly in a lecture-based traditional curriculum. This was the first hand information from students who had recently joined a university and were first time exposed to a totally new curriculum (hybrid PBL curriculum). Faculty’s opinions included in this article were expressed during a ‘Colloquium on Students’ Feedback on Lectures and Lecturers’ (CSFL&L) organised to deliberate on this feedback. Tip 1 Involve students in the learning process The learning environment in institutions influences students’ learning mainly indirectly whereas classroom learning envi- ronment may have a direct effect on students’ learning. A number of instruments have been developed to assess the learning environment in the classroom (Genn & Harden 1986). Establish a non-threatening, relaxed environment oriented towards learning so that students may feel comfortable to share their views, expose their areas of weakness and share Correspondence: A.S. Malik, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Level 20, Tower 1, S&T complex, Shah Alam 40000, Selangor, Malaysia. Tel: 0060355442834; fax: 0060355442831; email: alamshermalik@hotmail.com 198 ISSN 0142–159X print/ISSN 1466–187X online/12/030198–7 ß 2012 Informa UK Ltd. DOI: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.588741
  2. 2. their areas of expertise. Our students reported ‘We are frightened to attend some classes. Hope lecturers can be friendly with us so that we can discuss issues effectively’. A good lecturer deeply cares about his/her students; has a passion and knowledge about his/her discipline and is in control of the situation in the class. The students must feel that a lecturer is approachable. Ensure meaningful participation of students not only in discussions but also in making decisions. This aspect has been emphasised in a number of publications, such as SPICES model (Harden et al. 1984), adult learning (David & Patel 1995), contextual learning (Coles 1991), PBL (van der Vleuten et al. 1996) and task-based learning (Harden et al. 1996a, 1996b) and PBL (Davis & Harden 1999). . To ease their anxiety, communicate your expectations for students’ behaviour, e.g. they should ask questions and discuss the issues. Work out a system for holding your students responsible for participation in the class. . Encourage your students to help develop ground rules for discussion and follow these rules all the time. . Respond to problems in a personalised way as advocated by the theory of adult learning (Knowles 1988) and principles of deliberate practice (Ericsson et al. 1993). . Move around the room and offer words of praise such as ‘good’ or ‘interesting’ to students who are participating. . Never ridicule a student’s questions or remarks. You can disagree with a student without attacking him or her personally. . Always credit the thoughtfulness of a student’s contributions and dignify their responses by highlighting their valid points. . Encourage questions and clarifications. Allow students to interrupt during the lecture to ask questions as your answer may be crucial to understand the concept or the rest of the lecture. A student may not be able to continue to concen- trate as something which was not clear to him/her will keep on bothering. Be prepared to explain again if requested. . Be conscious of signs of racial or sexual harassment or personal attacks. Make it clear by your words and actions that such behaviour is not acceptable. . Refer students with psychological, emotional, academic or financial problems to the appropriate counsellors. You can be sympathetic and supportive, but becoming a student’s counsellor can cause problems. . A healthy and attractive physical environment that is conducive to teaching and learning is of utmost importance. As our students pointed out ‘The lecture was good and could be understood easily – just the lecture hall was too hot and crowded’. Make sure that lecture hall is well lit, and sound system is operating well. Tip 2 Align your lecture with modern learning theories Current learning theories derived from constructivism con- clude that students draw on existing knowledge and previous experiences to construct new knowledge and understanding. PBL also applies this constructivist approach to learning (Davis & Harden 1999). These theories suggest that the existing knowledge must be activated before students can successfully engage with new learning. Based on this theory, delivery of a lecture can be planned into following three sections (ABC of planning and delivery of a lecture). (a) Activation of the prior knowledge This can be done in a number of ways such as asking questions, showing a video or a picture, sharing a clinical experience etc. (b) Building on the existing knowledge Knowing the sequence of your lecture in the timetable and asking questions helps to gauge students’ level of previous knowledge about the subject and provides the foundation to further develop on that level. Help students to link the new information with the existing knowledge, e.g. by asking students to recall the physiological functions of thyroid hormones and then think about the possible symptoms and signs that can arise because of the deficiency of these hormones in a newborn baby. Many students experience difficulty with the new termi- nology as one student put it ‘words that I have never heard in my life and you must understand that word before you can go on’ (Brown & Manogue 2001). Do not assume that students know all the terminology. List down and describe the new terms in the beginning of the lecture and explain them again when you use them first time. Plan ahead and choose appropriate words and examples to promote understanding, critical thinking, problem solving and foster self-directed learning. (c) Consolidation of new knowledge Summarise the important points at appropriate intervals during the lecture as well as at the end of the lecture. Emphasise the key points, show the links within the lecture topic and in between the topics. This helps students to clarify any doubts, compare their understanding and compre- hension with that of the lecturer and consolidate their knowledge. Tip 3 Assist students to determine the scope (breadth and depth) of the topic Lecturer should declare the learning outcomes (LOs) for each session at the beginning of the class. LOs identify significant and essential learning that students’ would achieve and be able to demonstrate at the end of the session. LOs help students to focus their attention in the right direction and act as the bench mark for students to judge whether or not they have learned successfully what they were supposed to learn. Outcomes help students to organise and understand new subject matter. To highlight this aspect, McMillan (2007) quoted a student ‘she (lecturer) came into the class and she told us, ‘‘This is what I want you to know and we are going to focus on that’’’. This approach helps to get the overall picture Effective lecturing in a PBL curriculum 199
  3. 3. and focus on the points which students need to figure out – thus giving students the opportunity to identify their learning needs based on their existing knowledge. LOs of a lecture have to be in line with the overall LOs of the course. They should be just right for the session – not too many to overwhelm or too few to pose a challenge to the students. In both of these situations, students would lose interest in the session. Some of our students commented ‘Lecture (content) was too much for one hour. (We) propose that lecturer should just stress on the learning outcomes first and only then should give any extra information’. ‘So much information confuses us’. Tip 4 Help students to see the relevance of their learning A keystone of achieving meaningful learning is that the students’ recognise the content to be relevant. PBL helps to eliminate much of the irrelevant and outdated teaching currently cluttering undergraduate or basic training pro- grammes (Davis & Harden 1999). Hodgson (1984) described three qualitatively different experiences of relevance: extrinsic experience, intrinsic expe- rience and vicarious experience. Vicarious experience relates to the teacher’s enthusiasm and interest in the subject and the ability to bring the content to life, encouraging something similar to intrinsic experience. Hence the way the lecturer acts and handles situations in lecture directly influences students’ perception of relevance. Starting the lecture topic with a problem/scenarios/reality- based situation, helps in revealing the relevance. For example, beginning with a problem of a baby born with ambiguous genitalia (may show a picture), might arouse interest among the students to learn about the steps involved in steroid biosynthetic pathway, which otherwise may not be an engaging topic for students. Ascertaining horizontal and vertical integration in the lecture also brings relevance to the information (Malik & Malik 2011). Tip 5 Address all learning styles and intelligences Learning style of medical students has relevance for medical educators, medical administrators and medical students them- selves. Adapting learning tasks and teaching methods to students’ learning styles and preferences improves their learning and attitudes (Henke 1996). There are at least three different learning styles that play role in education: affective, learning and cognitive (Curry 1999). Chapman and Calhoun (2006) defined five learning style constructs. Three modalities of learning have been identified: visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Visual learners prefer written, graphic and electronic visual media. Auditory learners favour the spoken words to visual materials. Kinaesthetic learners learn best when the learning involves them in physical activity. Learners will usually display a mixture of the three learning styles although one may predominate (Ramani & Leinster 2008). Gardner in 1983 presented the concept of multiple intel- ligences which has influenced the approach to teaching at all levels. The concept of multiple intelligences promotes multiple methods of teaching. A subject matter can be explained in many different ways to cater for students who have different intelligences such as deductive approach for logical-mathe- matical intelligence and narrative approach for linguistic intelligence. Teachers who alter instructions to accommodate individual differences send the message that they want to reach all of their students. Students are much more likely to participate actively in learning when they know that their teacher has carefully considered their needs. Proper use of audiovisual media will cater for different learning styles and multiple intelligences. However, it should be used carefully as sometimes it produces mental dazzle or sleep rather than intellectual enlightenment. Tip 6 Promote deep learning and critical thinking If lectures are merely reciting standard texts then they are not fulfilling their function of developing understanding and motivating students to learn, a most widely accepted merit of PBL approach (Davis & Harden 1999). Evidence (Bligh 2000) shows that students recall and understand better the presentations that are based on learning principles and contain a little detail than those containing much detail. Explaining is one of the most important skills in teaching. Common types of explanations in lectures are interpretive (what?), descriptive (how?) and reason-giving (why?). Our students requested ‘Lecturers must explain —– instead of wanting to finish it as fast as possible’. Effective explanations use precise pointing at diagrams and naming of parts, simple definitions, simple sentences, empha- sis of key points, apt examples, guiding images, metaphors, analogies, repetitions and paraphrasing key points and clear transitions from one subtopic to the next (Land 1985; Brophy & Good 1986). A common complaint in medical education is that many students struggle to apply in the clinical context what they have learnt theoretically (DePoala & Slavkin 2004; Kalkwarf et al. 2005). One way to overcome this problem is to explain the concept and then ask students to apply that concept in a relevant situation, e.g. solving a problem. For example, after explaining the cardiac circulation ask students to describe the haemodynamics in a child with ventricular septal defect. Share your personal experiences. This is the information only you can provide; student cannot find this knowledge from anywhere else. It will help to sustain students’ atten- tion and help them to comprehend the concept under discussion. A. S. Malik & R. H. Malik 200
  4. 4. Tip 7 Let students help you improve your lecture If you want students to learn from your lecture you must gain and sustain their attention. Telling a story of a patient or sharing experiences captures the imagination of the stu- dents and deepens their understanding. Examples based on real patients or problems are more likely to be recalled than straight theory or detailed findings (Brown & Manogue 2001). If the language of instruction is not the first language of the students (as is the case in our situation), make sure they understand what you are saying. Speak clearly, slowly and ensure that students are following. Check it by asking questions occasionally. The minute the students fail to understand they would wonder in their thoughts. In their feedback, our students pleaded ‘please do not teach (speak) too fast’. To address such situations in which most of the students would not like to ‘embarrass’ the lecturers, the members of the Faculty of Medicine, UiTM during the CSFL&L decided to follow the concept of ‘student committee’ (McKeachie & Svinicki 2006) and suggested to choose few specifically instructed students to indicate to the lecturer (during the lecture) to slow down and repeat or re-explain a particular section or a point. Students also reported that lecturers who write everything on their slides and read it all or just read from a piece of paper make it difficult for them to learn. Effective lecturers speak clearly and make eye contact with learners. McMillan (2007) reported a student’s comments ‘One lecturer kept his back to us, spoke for an hour, switched the overhead off and left. I did not understand what was going on’. Tip 8 Encourage application of knowledge and teamwork Important aspects of meaningful learning include activity, pre- understanding and importance of context of knowledge (Hounsell 1984). Including activities in the lectures can serve many purposes: . Activities which require the application of knowledge will provide evidence if students have understood and compre- hended the lecture. . Lectures can induce passivity and compliance. By includ- ing activity lectures are no more passive methods of learning. . Students’ attention fluctuates throughout one-hour lecture. After 20 minutes there is marked decline in attention followed by a peak attention just before the lecture ends (Biggs 1999; Bligh 2000). This decline in attention is less likely to occur if the lecture includes some sort of activities for students (McMillan 2007). . By varying student activities during a lecture one can renew their attention, generate interest, provide opportunities for students to think and obtain some feedback of their understanding. There are different types of activities that can be intro- duced. Students may be asked to solve a mini-problem in groups of three or four, applying the information that they have just learned. They may be shown a video clip, asked to answer multiple choice questions or frame questions in relation to the data given, think of examples involving the application of data and compare with their colleagues, list advantages or disadvantages of a particular procedure or approach. This exercise will also promote team work among students; another important attribute of PBL curriculum (Davis & Harden 1999). However introduction of activities will leave less time for the lecturers to talk which may not be an issue if aim is to focus on concepts and comprehension rather than imparting minute details and facts. The lecturers at Faculty of Medicine, UiTM, decided that in a 1 hour session up to 40 minutes may be spent in lecturing, 5–10 minutes in activities, 5–10 minutes in questions and discussion and another 5 minutes in reflection at the end of the lecture. Tip 9 Use multiple modes of communication Lectures used only to provide detailed coverage of facts and findings are uninteresting. Instead students may gain more from reading good textbooks than attending such lectures. You can generate interest by . showing your own interest/commitment to the topic by being expressive; . using examples, analogies, metaphors and models which are apt for the audience and the topic; . using mixture of modes of explaining; . playing on intellectual curiosity of students through the use of puzzles, problems and questions and . enthusiasm, friendliness, humour and a conversational style improves expressiveness and generates interest among students. Well-presented and colourful audiovisual aids sustain attention and improve understanding by increasing clarity and interest. Illustrations, diagrams, bullet points and summaries should be simple and brief. Crowded slides with small or complicated fonts disengage students. As our students pointed out, ‘Students on the back seats cannot read what is written on the slides’. Just reading from slides without explaining does not catch the attention of the students. ‘Sometimes there are lecturers that only read the slides without explaining’. ‘The (number of) slides must be reduced, if a lecture has a lot of slides we tend to sleep’. Your pronunciation should not be too alien to students. Speaking slowly and clearly helps students to understand different pronunciations. The words that are difficult to understand pronunciation can be written on the slides or projected. Effective lecturing in a PBL curriculum 201
  5. 5. Audiovisual recordings, and films can be effective ways of developing understanding but their excessive use can induce sleep. One should indicate which features of the recording should be attended to. Posing questions for the students to answer, while watching the audiovisual materials, would help them to focus on relevant parts. Harden (1983) identi- fied factors that need to be taken into account when selecting most appropriate medium to present a problem to students but several are also relevant to presentations such as lectures. Tip 10 Be a vigilant facilitator If learning is the active construction of meaning, teaching can then be defined as the facilitation of learning (Davis & Harden 1999). Schmidt and Moust (1995) found that personal qualities of facilitators, ‘such as the ability to communicate with students in an informal way, an emphatic attitude and the creation of an atmosphere in which the open exchange of ideas is facilitated’, seem to be important in promoting learning. During a lecture, apart from taking notes, students’ responses also consist of reactions to the lecture and lecturer. The immediate reactions are usually non-verbal signals. Such signals provide the basis for the responsiveness of the lecturer to the audience. To an experienced lecturer, it is very obvious if students are not paying attention any more, most of them are sleepy or have lost interest. At this point, it would be useless to continue delivering lecture – try different methods to bring students’ attention back in the class room – may be by giving 5 minute break or stretching or changing the topic to some light moments or introducing an activity. Tip 11 Motivate students to identify their own learning needs Apart from LOs (tip 3), identification of learning needs also helps students to find out the breadth and depth of a topic they are expected to learn. Identification of their learning needs by students themselves is a main feature of PBL approach (Davis & Harden 1999). Many students depend on lecture notes. As our students requested ‘We would be very grateful if the lecturer would at least let us have some time to take down the lecture notes —- we need to write something during the lecture so that we can use it as reference material later’. Many of our students, for whom English, the language of instruction, is not the first language, described how they struggled with the triple challenge of listening to a lecture, understanding the content and simultaneously taking notes. They demanded that they should be given handouts to overcome this problem. Lecturers on the other hand thought that giving handouts discourage students to study from other resources – most of the students use only the handouts to learn which obviously are not adequate and cannot replace textbooks and other resources. Lecturers at Faculty of Medicine, UiTM, during a CSFL&L decided to give interactive handouts to the students before the lectures. Hartley (1994) suggests that interactive handouts are better than other forms for aiding recall and understanding. Interactive handouts contain skeletal notes and diagrams that the students have to complete during the lecture. These can be reduced versions or the PowerPoint slides used with space for students to write their own notes. Giving some questions before the lecture helps students to focus on essentials of the lecture and leaving students with some challenging questions may stimulate them to learn more about the topic. Research on pre-questions (advanced orga- nisers) shows that questions help students learn from texts (Ausubel 1978). The concept of PBL emphasises that the students’ own questions should be the driving force for their learning. Reflective learning is another desirable attribute for active and meaningful learning. Asking students to deliberate on the following questions at the end of the lecture may address these important aspects of active learning. . What have you learned from this lecture? . What else would you like to learn about this topic (learning needs)? . How are you going to learn about your learning needs (selection of learning resources, methods of learning)? . When are you going to learn your learning needs? . What is the evidence that you have learned your learning needs? Tip 12 Reflect on your lecture and role It has been found that teachers tend to fall back to their usual teaching habits if they feel uncomfortable in the new teaching roles (Gijselaers 1997). To reduce this effect, repeated evalu- ations and willingness to revise is likely to be helpful. Student ratings of lectures are useful but over-used and limited ways of evaluating lectures. Peer reviews are also of equal importance and can be provided mutually. More important than either of these is reflection on the practice of lecturing by individuals and course teams (Brown & Manogue 2001). However, all these approaches are helpful only if the lecturers want to improve their teaching methods. At the end of the lecture ask yourself the following questions: . Did students ask questions? Were some of these questions probing? . Did I enjoy the session? . Do I have a feeling of fulfilment? If the answer is yes, then it is likely that you have delivered a great lecture. A. S. Malik & R. H. Malik 202
  6. 6. Conclusion Although many medical schools have been through profound changes in the curriculum design and delivery, the traditional lecture still remains as one of the most widely used instruc- tional methods in the medical education (Harden & Crosby 2000). Delivering lectures in PBL curriculum is not like didactic lectures of traditional curriculum. An interactive lecture is more in line with the notions of knowledge and learning in PBL. Students are asked to actively participate and process infor- mation thought out the session. They also take an active part in contextualising the content. This article highlights the ways of making the traditional lectures PBL-compliant as well as effective. These tips suggest a lecture format supported by learning theories that underpin PBL as an educational philosophy, realising that important aspects of meaningful learning include activity, pre-under- standing and importance of context of knowledge (Hounsell 1984; Masunga et al. 2011). We would like lecturers to discuss the aims of lectures in PBL and reflect on their own lectures in relation to the curriculum based on PBL. We have highlighted the ways that would prevent the lectures from reversing into traditional didactic format. These tips incorporate the following attributes of the PBL into a lecture. . Engagement of students in the decision-making process about the teaching/learning activities and ground rules. . Teaching/learning process based on modern learning theories. . Involvement of students in determining the breadth and depth of the topic to be learned and identification of the learning needs. . Highlighting the relevance of the learning with the future practice of medicine. . Deep learning; emphasising on understanding rather than memorising; clarifying concepts. . Participation of all the students in the learning process. . Promotion of application of knowledge and team work. . Boosting intrinsic motivation, critical thinking and problem solving. . Information searching and self-directed learning. Even though these tips help to prepare and deliver a lecture that supports meaningful learning, it can never compete with the small group learning when it comes to responding to individual’s learning process. There are many processes in small group, which are never, or to a minimal degree, addressed in large group. Being able to give and receive feedback, working on one’s own learning strategies and critically examining and reflecting on sources are some of the examples. However lectures can complement the small groups and support a deep approach in learning. If lectures are the only method of teaching then the students are not being well-prepared for their future roles. A rich diversity of teaching methods is necessary for a domain as complex as the health of human beings and their communities. Declaration of interest: The authors report no conflicts of interest. 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