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Korean J Med Educ. 2017 Dec;29(4):271-282. doi: 10.3946/kjme.2017.73. Epub 2017 Nov 29.

Implementation of problem-based learning in medical education in Korea.

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Department of Medical Education, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.



This study aims to identify how problem-based learning (PBL) has been implemented in Korean medical education, and how it is evaluated by each medical school.


For this study, a total of 40 medical schools in Korea were surveyed via e-mail. The survey tool was a questionnaire consisting of 22 questions which was developed independently by the researchers.


Of the 40 medical schools, 35 schools were implementing PBL programs in their medical curriculum, while five were found not currently to be running the program. A large number of the schools which introduced PBL (30 schools, 85.7%) used a hybrid PBL model. In over 70% of the medical schools surveyed, professors evaluated the effects of PBL as positive. Most medical schools (85.7%) stated they would maintain or expand their use of PBL. However, the lack of understanding and skeptical attitude of the faculty on PBL, the lack of self-study time and passive attitude of students, insufficiency of good PBL cases, and the perfunctory PBL introduction for school accreditation interfere with the successful PBL.


PBL has been incorporated in Korean medical curriculum as hybrid PBL type. It is analyzed that intensive tutor training and good PBL case development are necessary for the success and effective operation of PBL.


Korea; Medical education; Problem-based learning

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