Differentiating case-based learning from problem-based learning after a two-day introductory workshop on case-based learning

Aqil Mohammad Daher, Harbindar Jeet Singh, M. Kannan Kutty


Considerable overlap exists between case-based learning (CBL) and problem-based learning (PBL) and differentiating between the two can be difficult for a lot of the academicians.

This study gauged the ability of members of medical school, familiar with a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum, to differentiate between case-based learning (CBL) and PBL after a two-day workshop on CBL.

A questionnaire was distributed to all participants, attending the introductory course on CBL. It was designed to document the basic characteristics of the respondents, their preference for either CBL or PBL, their ability to recognize differences between CBL and PBL, and their overall perception of the course.

Of the total workshop participants, 80.5 per cent returned the completed questionnaire. The mean age of the respondents was 44.12±12.31 years and women made up a slight majority. Majority favoured CBL over PBL and felt it was more clinical, emphasizes on self-directed learning, provides more opportunities for learning, permits in-depth exploration of cases, has structured environment and encourages the use of all learning resources. On the respondents’ ability to discriminate CBL from PBL, a weighted score of 39.9 per cent indicated a failure on the part of the respondents to correctly identify differences between CBL and PBL. Less than half opined that CBL was a worthwhile progression from PBL and about third would recommend CBL over PBL.

It seems that majority of the respondents failed to adequately differentiate between CBL and PBL and didn’t favour CBL over PBL.
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