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Curationis. 2003 May;26(1):57-61.

Integration of study material in the problem-based learning method.

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School of Nursing, UFS.


Throughout the world educators are starting to realise that integrated curricula reflect the "real world". Students learn how to integrate theory appropriately with practice and it stimulates higher order thinking skills. Problem-based learning (PBL) was used as a learning strategy in an integrated undergraduate programme. A quantitative non-experimental design, a survey, was used to determine how problem-based learning influences integration of learning by the students. Using a purposive sampling method all the first-year nursing students (43) at the University of the Free State participating in the programme were included in the study. Data was collected by means of a student perception questionnaire (SPQ). PBL does contribute to an integration of learning. All the students agreed that community problems were brought to the classroom and that theory and practice were complementary. Students also indicated that PBL enhanced gathering of information from various sources and a holistic view of a situation. Problem-based learning also increased the ability to consider problems from various viewpoints and taught students clinical reasoning. Certain aspects of integration still seem to be a problem as 42% of the students indicated that subjects were not related, 21% that subjects were not integrated and 37% that scenarios were not realistic. This might be attributed to the fact that only the nursing subjects were taught by means of PBL. It is recommended that scenarios be revised to make them more realistic and that traditional subjects such as Anatomy, Microbiology and Chemical Science be integrated with nursing subjects by means of problem-solving themes, to form a meaningful core curriculum.

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