The research project entitled ‘The effect of pharmacology teaching on diverse learners in a problem-based learning medical curriculum (PharmPBL)’ was completed under the Excellence Hubs (EXCELLENCE/0918) programme within the “RESTART 2016-2020” funding framework for Research, Technological Development and Innovation (RTDI) from the Cyprus Research and Innovation Foundation. It received a competitive 146,066.40 Euros grant. The project consortium consists of the University of Nicosia Research Foundation (UNRF), as the project host organisation, and St George’s, University of London (SGUL) as the foreign research partner organisation. The project started in October 2019 and was successfully completed in May, 2022.
Considering the high prevalence of prescribing errors, it is imperative that future prescribers acquire the fundamental knowledge required to carry out this important task. The project aimed at investigating whether a problem-based learning (PBL) pharmacology curriculum is able to satisfy the diverse learning needs of medical students in pre-clinical years and contribute to the development of prescribing skills in clinical years. The diverse student characteristics that may impact learning include, for example, learning style and approach to learning, age, previous experience with PBL, educational background, language and academic ability.
The effectiveness of PBL in addressing diverse learning needs was evaluated based on two outcomes in first, second, and fourth (final) year medical students at both the UNIC Medical School and SGUL. Firstly, reliable assessments elucidated the effects of student differences on achieving learning outcomes. Secondly, an in-depth analysis of the student learning experience was carried out through interviews, focus groups and a student questionnaire, which was developed as part of the study. The findings can inform changes to the curriculum to better support student learning. Ultimately the project aims at reducing medication errors, which compromise patient safety and increase health care costs, by better preparing medical students to become effective and safe prescribers.
Foreign Research Organization: St George’s, University of London (SGUL)
Prof Anthony Alberts
Dr Andrew Hitchings