Send to

Choose Destination
Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001 Jun;155(6):669-72.

Impact of problem-based learning on residents' self-directed learning.

Author information

Montefiore Medical Center, 3544 Jerome Ave, Bronx, NY 10467, USA.

Erratum in

  • Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2001 Dec;155(12):1350.



To examine the effect of a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum on self-directed learning behaviors among a group of pediatric residents.


A controlled comparison study was conducted with 80 pediatric residents at a large urban academic medical center. Residents were observed over 3 distinct but consecutive periods. First, all residents participated in a 3-month-long daily lecture series (pre-exposure phase). Then, for another 3 months, 39 residents (PBL group) were exposed to twice-weekly PBL sessions while 41 residents continued with the daily lectures (lecture-based group) and served as controls. Problem-based learning was withdrawn after 3 months and all residents returned to the lecture series (follow-up phase). Residents' self-directed learning behaviors were assessed through self-administered questionnaires during the pre-exposure, exposure, and follow-up phases.


There were no significant preexposure differences in self-directed learning behaviors between the groups. During the exposure phase, the PBL group had significantly higher self-directed learning: 5 or more hours of independent study (26% vs 7%) [corrected] (P=.001); 5 or more hours of medical discussions (28% vs 4%) (P=.008); 2 or more computer literature searches (51% vs 30%) (P=.005); and total hours of self-study per week (6 vs 4 hours) (P<.05). At the 3-month follow-up, the PBL group had returned to baseline levels of self-directed learning and there were no significant differences between the groups.


Residents exposed to PBL engaged in significantly higher levels of self-directed learning than their counterparts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center