Arch Dis Child 90:275-278 doi:10.1136/adc.2003.037630
  • Community child health, public health, and epidemiology

Problem based learning in a junior doctor teaching programme

  1. H M Goodyear
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr H M Goodyear
    Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Bordesley Green East, Birmingham B9 5SS, UK;
  • Accepted 15 December 2003


Background: Problem based learning (PBL) is used increasingly in undergraduate medical education, but there are few postgraduate medical studies.

Aim: To compare SHO learning outcomes for a PBL course with a traditional didactic course.

Methods: As part of their protected teaching programme, 14 senior house officers (SHOs) were taught about paediatric dermatology using a traditional didactic course. Six months later, the new SHOs received a PBL course including small group teaching and a study guide. Both the traditional and the PBL group were assessed using multiple choice questions (MCQs), an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), and pre- and post-course self-assessment sheets. SHOs completed course evaluation sheets.

Results: There was no significant difference in learning outcome between the traditional and PBL courses as assessed by the MCQs, OSCE, and self-assessment sheets. The PBL course was well appreciated by SHOs who liked variety in the teaching programme.

Conclusions: The PBL and traditional course had equivalent learning outcomes. PBL adds variety to junior doctor protected teaching programmes and can be a useful tool for doctors working shift patterns.


  • Competing interests: none declared