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Can Fam Physician. 2014 Feb;60(2):157-65.

Problem-based learning in continuing medical education: review of randomized controlled trials.

Author information

1
Division of Emergency Medicine, Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5G 1X8. savithiri.ratnapalan@sickkids.ca.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the effects of problem-based learning (PBL) in continuing medical education.

DATA SOURCES:

PubMed, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and ERIC databases were searched for randomized controlled trials published in English from January 2001 to May 2011 using key words problem-based learning, practice-based, self-directed, learner-centered, and active learning, combined with continuing medical education, continuing professional development, post professional, postgraduate, and adult learning.

STUDY SELECTION:

Randomized controlled trials that described the effects of PBL on knowledge enhancement, performance improvement, participants' satisfaction, or patients' health outcomes were selected for analysis.

SYNTHESIS:

Fifteen studies were included in this review: 4 involved postgraduate trainee doctors, 10 involved practising physicians, and 1 had both groups. Online learning was used in 7 studies. Among postgraduate trainees PBL showed no significant differences in knowledge gain compared with lectures or non-case-based learning. In continuing education, PBL showed no significant difference in knowledge gain when compared with other methods. Several studies did not provide an educational intervention for the control group. Physician performance improvement showed an upward trend in groups participating in PBL, but no significant differences were noted in health outcomes.

CONCLUSION:

Online PBL is a useful method of delivering continuing medical education. There is limited evidence that PBL in continuing education would enhance physicians' performance or improve health outcomes.

PMID:
24522680
PMCID:
PMC3922562
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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