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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 36-40

Evaluation of surgical teaching methods by medical students at academic centers at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia


1 Department of Surgery, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
2 Department of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication28-Jul-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hana’a Tashkandi
Department of Surgery, King Abdulaziz University, P.O. Box - 80215, Jeddah - 21589
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2278-9596.187192

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  Abstract 

Background: The present times have seen a transformational change in teaching methods in medical schools. The aim of this study was to present medical students' evaluation of various teaching methods and their opinions of different means of assessment.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at King Abdulaziz University Hospital in March 2015 on fourth-, fifth- and sixth-year medical students at the Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Ibn Sina Medical College and Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah. The survey instrument consisted of a self-filled questionnaire, which was developed with closed-ended format questions that were easy to read and non-intrusive. Students were asked their opinion regarding different surgical teaching methods as well their effectiveness and drawbacks. Descriptive statistics was computed for all variables.
Results: A total of 187 questionnaires were completed and analyzed (response rate, 100%). Most students (65.2%) graded the efficiency of lectures as medium. Active learning (51.9%), feedback (45.6%) and knowledge gained (63.1%) from lectures were also graded as medium by most students. Most students (41.2%) considered the efficiency of self-directed learning to be medium; 47.1% graded active learning as medium. The majority of students (72.7%) considered problem-based learning (PBL) to be student-oriented. About 70.6% of the students thought that PBL encouraged teamwork, while 46.5% responded that students acquired less knowledge through PBL. Whiteboards, lecture notes, and PowerPoint presentations were graded as high, while overheads were graded as medium. The respondents had a poor opinion of e-learning. Most students graded multiple-choice questions, short-answer questions, verbal assessments, and skill-based Objective Structured Clinical Examination as high. Conversely, most students graded essays as low.
Conclusion: Although medical students at King Abdulaziz University had a favorable opinion of lectures and PBL, most perceived that they gained more knowledge from lectures, suggesting that traditional methods of teaching such as lectures still have value in medical education.

Keywords: Curriculum, medical education, medical school, problem-based learning (PBL), traditional teaching


How to cite this article:
Tashkandi H, Zaidi NH, Qari Y, Aljiffry M, Alshahari A, Alamoodi M. Evaluation of surgical teaching methods by medical students at academic centers at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Arch Int Surg 2016;6:36-40

How to cite this URL:
Tashkandi H, Zaidi NH, Qari Y, Aljiffry M, Alshahari A, Alamoodi M. Evaluation of surgical teaching methods by medical students at academic centers at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Arch Int Surg [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Sep 16];6:36-40. Available from: https://www.archintsurg.org/text.asp?2016/6/1/36/187192


  Introduction Top


The present times have seen a transformational change in teaching methods. Classrooms, which were considered to be the core of teaching, are changing fast. Blackboards are being replaced by white boards and students' notebooks by laptops and tablets. PowerPoint presentations have become a powerful tool in transferring knowledge.

Medical education is an integral part of a healthy society. Many factors, including the instruction style (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, procedural, or a combination of various teaching methods), influence the mode of teaching.[1] Recent researches have focused on self-directed learning through lectures, interactive workshops, practice-based interventions, problem-based learning (PBL), and e-learning.[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] It has been observed that in Asian countries, a majority of medical schools follow lecture-based teaching.[8] Some students view mini-lectures during rounds as an ineffective method of imparting knowledge.[9] Clinical teaching has also evolved and should stimulate critical thinking rather than asking closed-ended questions.[10] Prior researches demonstrated that adults preferred self-directed learning and facilitated discussions over transfer of knowledge alone.[11],[12] The commonly used teaching methods in most of the medical colleges in Saudi Arabia are lectures, PowerPoint presentations, tutorials, and PBL.

Students' satisfaction can be improved by organizing workshops and seminars on new teaching methods so their awareness about the proper utilization of these newly applied methods improve and enhance their satisfaction.

This study presents medical students' evaluation of various teaching methods and was designed to assess the effectiveness of different surgical teaching and assessment methods to improve the quality of teaching and students' satisfaction.


  Materials and Methods Top


This cross-sectional study was conducted at King Abdulaziz University Hospital in March 2015 on medical students at three medical schools in Jeddah, namely, the Faculty of Medicine from King Abdulaziz University, Ibn Sina Medical College, and Batterjee Medical College, Jeddah. Only fourth- to sixth-year medical students were included in this survey. Medical students in their first, second or third year of education were excluded from this analysis. The age ranged 21-28 years. The sample included male and female students.

Students were informed of the aim of this study and were assured of the confidentiality of the survey. Written informed consent was obtained from all participants prior to recruitment. The Biomedical Ethics Committee at King Abdulaziz University granted the approval to conduct this study.

Survey tool

The survey instrument consisted of a self-filled questionnaire, which was developed with closed-ended format questions that were easy to read and nonintrusive. Different surgical teaching methods and their effectiveness and drawbacks were listed in the questionnaire, and students were given the option to select from the list. The answers were classified to different categories (high, medium, and low); an analog scale of 0-10 was developed — a score between 0 and 3 was scored as poor, 4-7 as medium, and 8-10 as high. The questionnaires were distributed randomly among fourth- and sixth-year students during their surgical rotation.

We designed the questionnaire based on the commonly used teaching methods in surgical practice and different assessment methods.

The data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Inc., IBM, New York, US), version 22. Descriptive statistics was computed for all variables. The results are expressed as percentages.


  Results Top


A total of 187 questionnaires were obtained from 187 students, giving a response rate of 100%.

Most students (65.2%) graded the efficiency of lectures as medium. Similarly, active learning (51.9%), feedback (45.6%), and knowledge (63.1%) gained from lectures were graded as medium by most students [Table 1]. The efficiency of seminars was graded as low in most cases (36.9%). On the contrary, active learning and feedback from seminars were graded as medium (43.9% and 47.1%, respectively). Most students (41.2%) considered the efficiency of self-directed learning to be medium; a slightly higher proportion (47.1%) graded active learning to be medium. A similar observation was made for tutorials, with its efficiency and degree of active learning graded as medium by most students (40.6% and 39.0%, respectively).
Table 1: Students' assessment of various teaching methods*

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The majority of students (72.7%) considered PBL to be student-oriented. About 70.6% of the respondents thought that PBL encouraged teamwork while 46.5% responded that students acquired less knowledge through PBL. Approximately similar proportions of students reported the following about PBL: it involved a constructive approach, 63.1%; it helped students to developed other core skills, 63.1%; it overloaded students with information, 62.6%; it caused students to invest more time in learning, 64.2%; and it made students more confident, 62.6% [Table 2]. Regarding teaching materials, the students' range of responses varied: whiteboards were graded as high, 52.4%; lecture notes were grade as high, 50.3%; overheads were graded as medium, 51.3%; slides were graded as high; and PowerPoint presentations were graded as high [Table 3]. The respondents had a poor opinion of e-learning; e-mail (56.7%), live web sessions (57.8%), live lectures (49.2%), podcasts (53.5%), and blogs (58.3%) were all graded as low [Table 4].
Table 2: Students' assessment of problem-based learning*

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Table 3: Students assessment of teaching materials*

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Table 4: Students' assessment of e-learning*

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Among the methods of assessment, most students graded multiple-choice questions (MCQs), short-answer questions, verbal assessments, and skill-based objective structured clinical examinations (OSCEs) as high [Table 5]. Conversely, most students graded essays as low. An equal proportion of students (41.2%) graded work-based sessions as high and medium.
Table 5: Students' opinion of various methods of assessment*

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  Discussion Top


As can be inferred from our quantitative analyses, student satisfaction with lectures was average in terms of efficiency, active learning, feedback, and knowledge gained. Previous findings [13],[14],[15] have pointed toward students' dissatisfaction with lectures. In one report,[15] the authors found that student satisfaction with an almost purely lecture-based curriculum was not very high; 79% of the final-year medical students surveyed supported the modernization of the curriculum. Other researchers reported that a purely lecture-based curriculum was identified as an old-fashioned model of teaching and the faculties had realized this and insisted on making amendments.[13],[14] Furthermore, Linquist and McLean [16] reported that most students experienced “task-unrelated images and thoughts,” which significantly disrupted their attention during lectures.

In Saudi Arabia, the number of medical schools increased considerably between the 1970s and the year 2006.[17] The principal form of instruction was teacher-based learning; however, over the last decade, many medical schools have adopted varied curricula ranging from traditional to more innovative, problem-based, community-oriented programs.[17] A recent study conducted at a medical college in Riyadh showed that many medical students (75%) favored PBL, and most undergraduate students who had a PBL-based curriculum had a higher knowledge acquisition than those who had a traditional lecture-based method.[18] Although the majority of students in our study also favored PBL –72.7% considered PBL to be student-oriented while 70.6% thought that it favored teamwork — less than 46.5% of the students thought that they acquired less knowledge through PBL. Unfortunately, we did not perform inferential statistics to determine whether the PBL strategy produced a significant difference in knowledge acquisition, as it was not our objective.

In the current study, whiteboards, lecture notes, slides, and PowerPoint presentations were graded as high by approximately half of the students. Other authors also reported that medical students favored the use of whiteboards.[18],[19] In their study, the authors found that 98% of the surveyed students reported that their capacity to learn and retain lectures was augmented when lecturers drew pictures on a whiteboard instead of using PowerPoint presentations. Although present-day medical students — both in Saudi Arabia and abroad — have grown up in a technologically-supported environment, our students had a poor opinion of electronic-based methods such as e-mail, live web sessions, live lectures, podcasts, and blogs. Previous reports show that today's medical students generally favor the integration of e-learning,[20],[21],[22],[23] and e-learning is often combined with traditional teaching methods as blended learning format.[24]

According to previous research,[18] the use of MCQs as a means of assessing medical students is unsuitable for a course that involves learning concepts and methods of reasoning. Essays are thought to be better because students have the possibility to compare and contrast different opinions. Most students in the current survey graded MCQs, short-answer questions, verbal assessments, and OSCE as high; essays were graded as low by most of the respondents. It is possible that our students, who in most cases were native speakers of Arabic, found it difficult to express themselves in writing and in English, which is the main language of instruction at King Abdulaziz University.

This study has all the limitations inherent in cross-sectional surveys. In addition, our results cannot be used for definitive statements, as the analyses were limited to percentages.


  Conclusion Top


Although medical students at King Abdulaziz University had a favorable opinion of lectures and PBL, most perceived that they gained more knowledge from lectures, suggesting that traditional methods of teaching such as lectures still have value in surgery education. With our data on the teaching and assessment methods that medical students prefer in surgery education, we wish to motivate administrators at our institution to critically evaluate how surgery is taught at the Faculty of Medicine and on whether the current curriculum requires rejuvenation. While these findings cannot be extrapolated to other medical schools in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia we hope that these colleges also work on their curricula to augment learning in surgery.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 
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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5]



 

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