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Problem Based Learning

Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 1:06 pm
by curtisrd504
So i was accepted to LECOM in erie penn, and bradenton florida. The florida campus only offers problem based learning. I was wondering what the advantages and disadvantages of PBL is as opposed to lecture based learning? What is the likelyhood of success in PBL if your used to lecture based study? I guess any details on this matter would be great. Thanks

Re: Problem Based Learning

Posted: Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:56 pm
by CaribMD
IMHO problem based learning is better because your learning how to Diagnose from the start.
Its more thinking through the processes then sitting in lecture. :wink:

Re: Problem Based Learning

Posted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:58 pm
by pbltodo
I agree, PBL is better. I'm a second year PBL student right now at LECOM-Erie. I'll break it down for you as best I can, but I'm sure not everything is the same at Bradenton.

First, PBL is very self directed. You have to be able to motivate yourself to study. Generally, you will complete about 7 cases per test and that's at 100-120 pages per case. So, 700 pages is not really the kind of test you can cram for. And you usually start the next set of cases the day after the test, so no relief. However, any med school path is intense like that. Additionally, there is no one telling you what is important in PBL. When you read a chapter in Path, you have to know all of it. To compare, lecture (LDP) is given the relevant information only, and they have tests much more regularly.

Benefits of PBL are, for me, more compelling. Yes, you have to work on your own, and you have to really like challenging yourself constantly, but I think it's worth it. First the trivial reason: PBL doesn't have to go to lecture. LDP students at LECOM-Erie have a mandatory attendance policy for all lectures. PBL is only required to attend Osteopathic Principles and Practice (OPP), and History and Physical (H&P) lectures most of the time. There are a few other short classes we go to. PBL meetings are generally 3 two-hour meetings per week, while LDP is in lecture up to 40 hours per week.

Next, more of an opinion, I think PBL prepares you better. Though I'm sure it's statistically insignificant, PBL's average on boards tends to be slightly higher. Also, PBL tends to excel at H&P, at least during the first two years. This is the foundation of a good differential, without which you cannot practice good medicine. I also suspect it will prove to help us do better during rotations.

Additionally, PBL conditions you for boards. Each test you take in PBL (3/semester) is 200 questions, just like level 1, so you are used to taking long exams. Also, because you have to learn such large chunks of information ahead of time, you really have to know it, just like boards.

A kind of neutral point is that things are scheduled around LDP no matter what. So you may be studying cardio, but OPP and H&P will be focusing on renal because that's what LDP is doing. It's not really a big deal.

Something else to remember is that everyone has to get to the same point by the end of four years. So it's not going to matter in the end which pathway you pick, you'll still receive adequate training. Pick the pathway that is going to match your learning style and goals best.

If you do pick PBL, I'd consider Florida campus. The winters are much nicer. We had over 150" of snow last year.

Re: Problem Based Learning

Posted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 1:46 am
by CaribMD
Thank you for your post! :mrgreen:

Re: Problem Based Learning

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:54 am
by boringusername
I'm in LECOM's postbacc and it rocks! It's challenging and I cannot believe how supportive and knowledgeable the staff and professors are... anyway-- I've talked to many students at LECOM (in Erie) and here's another impression:

If you talk to a PBL it's the best thing since sliced bread.
If you talk to anyone in any pathway, they love it or were in one and had to switch to lecture because it worked out better for them (few did this).

No pathway is better than the other. Lecture based forces disciplined study. PBL gives you great experience with Dx and history, etc and IP lets you explore knowledge possibly greater than a class could persuade you to (if you are motivated).

It comes down to what type of person you are.

If you love reading do ISP, you can end up reading entire textbooks for one test (no joke). The professors are in your reach and you can attend any lecture you feel you might need. If you are the type who needs motivation beyond intrinsic... stay away.

PBL has less frequent testing and gives you the instant "how does this apply in the real world" feel. If you like not always having the answers and making everyone in your group strive to high levels this ones for you. You assign each other reading and the work load is also heavy. The atmosphere is very light and the accompanying professors are there with you to keep your group from getting off the beaten path (I hear laughter through the walls of their study sessions sometimes, but that is not what I mean by off the beaten path). It's a highly disciplined, light, group learning atmosphere.

If you like traditional lecture, LECOM is extremely organized and with the 21st century. All lectures are downloaded and extremely categorized. The professors stick around for questions and and are extremely knowledgeable.

No approach is better than the other. It matters how you prefer to learn and how hard you want to strive to be the best doctor!