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ISSN: Print -2349-0977, Online - 2349-4387


 
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MEDICAL EDUCATION: METHODOLOGY ASSESSMENT
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 228-232

Tutorials as a teaching-learning method in pre-clinical sciences: Stakeholders' assessment


Department of Physiology, JNMC, Sawangi, Wardha, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication27-May-2015

Correspondence Address:
Arunita Tushar Jagzape
Department of Physiology, JNMC, Sawangi (Meghe), Wardha, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2349-0977.157768

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  Abstract 

Introduction: A tutorial is a class conducted by a tutor for one or a small number of students. Varied perspectives of different academicians about tutorials exist, which range from high effectivity to not-so-effective teacher-centered learning methods in which students are passive. But the perceptions of stakeholders (students, teachers) may vary as per their experience. This study was undertaken to determine the perception and acceptance of tutorial as teaching-learning method in preclinical sciences from the view of stakeholders. Methods: This was a descriptive survey where perceptions of second year MBBS students and teachers from the preclinical phase were collected using prevalidated questionnaires. Thematic areas that emerged were further explored through separate focus group discussions of students and tutors. Results: Maximum number of students were satisfied with the duration of tutorial sessions. But students opined that there was inadequate interaction; size of the group was not optimal, and tutorials did not help much in improving communication skills, confidence, and self-motivation. On the other hand, teachers narrated that students did not participate, prepare well or interact in tutorials. Conclusions: The current method of conducting tutorials did not meet the expectations of students and teachers and left them largely dissatisfied.

Keywords: Focus group discussions, perceptions, stakeholders, survey, teacher-centered, tutorial


How to cite this article:
Jagzape AT, Srivastava T, Jagzape TB. Tutorials as a teaching-learning method in pre-clinical sciences: Stakeholders' assessment. Astrocyte 2014;1:228-32

How to cite this URL:
Jagzape AT, Srivastava T, Jagzape TB. Tutorials as a teaching-learning method in pre-clinical sciences: Stakeholders' assessment. Astrocyte [serial online] 2014 [cited 2020 Jul 16];1:228-32. Available from: http://www.astrocyte.in/text.asp?2014/1/3/228/157768


  Introduction Top


A "tutorial," a class conducted by a tutor for one or a small number of students [1] is an important teaching-learning method. Tutorials enable an adult approach toward learning where students take responsibility for their own learning. [2] But tutorials have a different perspective also. According to Elton, tutorial is a teacher-centered learning environment in which students are instructed by their tutors and that it normally does not result in high-quality learning or deep learning. [3] Led by faculty members, tutorials are usually conducted as traditional tutorials where students act as passive recipients and get limited opportunity to express their opinions or enhance their communication skills. [4] These were the dual views of different academicians in their perspective regarding the effectiveness of tutorials. But the perspectives of the stakeholders (students, teachers) may vary as per their experience. This study was, therefore, undertaken with the aim to determine the perception of tutorials as a teaching-learning method in preclinical sciences and with the following objectives:

  1. To analyze the perception about tutorials from students' and teachers' viewpoint
  2. To recommend need based alterations in the current method of conducting tutorials.



  Methods Top


The study was conducted after approval from Institutional Ethical Committee. Study design was a descriptive survey. Study sample consisted of 93 (out of 150) second MBBS students and seven teachers from 1st year preclinical sciences. Prevalidated questionnaire was instituted to the students and teachers. The questionnaire consisted of quantitative data and qualitative data. The questionnaire for the students consisted of:

1. Quantitative data:

  • Part A: Four correct response (Yes/No) items
  • Part B: Five closed-ended items on five-point Likert scale regarding "quality of teaching" in tutorials.


Six closed-ended items on five-point Likert scale regarding "method used" in tutorials. Five-point Likert scale is a scale where 5 = strongly agree, 4 = agree, 3 = neutral, 2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree.

2. Qualitative data:

  • Part C : One open-ended item.


Questionnaire for teachers consisted of:

1. Quantitative data:

  • Part A: Seven closed-ended items on five-point Likert scale regarding "traditional tutorial method."


Five-point Likert scale is a scale where 5 = strongly agree, 4 = agree, 3 = Neutral, 2 = disagree, 1 = strongly disagree.

2. Qualitative data:

  • Part B : One open-ended item.


Thematic areas were further evaluated through focus group discussion (FGD) of students and teachers

separately.

Focus group discussion of students

Focus group discussion was also conducted in Department of Physiology, Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), Datta Meghe Institute of Medical Sciences (DMIMS) (Deemed University [DU]). A focus group interview is a rapid appraisal technique that can provide us with a wealth of qualitative information in an inexpensive manner. [5] Participants were 10 second year MBBS students (5 girls and 5 boys). The group was homogenous with participants of similar age groups and socioeconomic status. FGD team consisted of a facilitator having experience in conducting an FGD and a rapporteur who was noting down the points and expressions. Before starting the FGD, the purpose of FGD was explained to the students. Written consent was taken from participants. FGD was started with getting acquainted with the participants. Then themes were introduced, and discussion was noted down.

Focus group discussion guide



Focus group discussion of teachers

Focus Group Discussion was also conducted in Department of Physiology, JNMC, DMIMS (DU). Participants were seven teachers of the preclinical phase. FGD team consisted of a facilitator having experience in conducting an FGD and a rapporteur who was noting down the points and expressions. Before starting the FGD, the purpose of FGD was explained to the teachers. Written consent was taken from participants. FGD was started with getting acquainted with the participants. Then themes were introduced, and discussion was noted down.

Focus group discussion guide



Data analysis

Quantitative data were analyzed using percentage distribution and qualitative data by coding and categorization.


  Results Top


Tables with their legends are provided at the end of the text after the references.


  Discussion Top


Anatomy, Physiology, and Biochemistry-subjects of 1st phase/year of the medical curriculum is taught mostly by didactic lectures, practical classes and "tutorials" in India. These are mostly teacher-centered with minimum active participation on the part of students. [6],[7] Teacher-centered and student-centered approaches have gained much recognition and there is a pragmatic shift towards student-centered approach, in accordance with "S" of SPICES model by Harden et al., where "S" stands for a student-centered approach. [8]

In response to a question related to the adequacy of time provided for tutorials, 92% students replied in affirmation [Table 1] - item 1]. Time provided was considered adequate as the schedule of tutorials was displayed well in advance leading to better preparation on which 20% strongly agreed and 80% agreed amounting to 100% [[Table 2] - item 1]. Adequate time leads to better preparation and an interactive discussion. This is parallel to Anderson C, who also opined that by only investing adequate time and effort, knowledge could be achieved. [9] Environment was considered congenial by 90% of the students [[Table 1] - item 2]. The component of the environment included everything from infrastructure to atmosphere created for learning. This is also in accordance with the study by Anderson C, in which the students felt that there is a moral obligation to create a safe and nonthreatening environment. [9] Around 10% of the students were of the opinion that the environment was not congenial. This was evident by the responses to open-ended questions where students reported that the teacher conducted tutorials strictly, and there was no rapport between the teacher and the students [Table 3]. 99% students were of the opinion that conduction of tutorials at second semester is a good period to conduct [[Table 1] - item 3]. The reason seems to be the maturation they attain regarding their studies by the time they reach their second semester. 90% of the students stated that the duration of 1 h was adequate for tutorials [[Table 1] - item 4]. Duration was considered adequate since tutorials mainly consisted of question-answer sessions. But 10% students reported duration was inadequate which was evident by open-ended responses [Table 3] in which they reported that there occurs shortage of time for a topic and expression of knowledge did not receive an adequate platform.
Table 1: Time, Environment, Slot, and Duration of Tutorials


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Table 2: Method Used in Tutorials: Students' Perceptions


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Table 3: Categorization of Responses of the Survey Questionnaire to Open - ended Item "According to You, What are the Shortcomings in the Current Method of Tutorials?" (Students and Teachers)


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Regarding the quality of teaching in tutorials [[Table 4] - item 1-5], majority of students felt that there was no adequate interaction [Table 4] - item 1]. This can be co-related to the open-ended responses by the students where they reported that the teachers conduct tutorials with the utmost strictness, dissipating and receiving information without adequate interaction and rapport building [Table 3]. Students also felt (59%) that the current method of tutorials did not enhance their communication skills [[Table 4] - item 2]. Majority of students also disagreed (69%) that the tutorials complemented the knowledge learnt in lectures [[Table 4] - item 3]. 68% of the students were of the opinion that tutorials did not enhance their confidence [[Table 4] - item 4]. This can again be attributed to the method of conduction of tutorials. Majority of the students (69%) also felt that tutorials did not inculcate the mechanism of self-motivation to learn [[Table 4] - item 5], evident by the responses to open-ended questions [Table 3], where the students confessed that they used to just attend tutorials for the sake of attending it and there was no internal motivation.
Table 4: Quality of Teaching in Tutorials: Students' Perceptions


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Regarding the method used in tutorials, size of the group being optimal was disagreed by 69% of the students [Table 2] - item 2]. This could also be co-related with the open-ended responses [Table 3] where size of group being not optimal was an issue where the students felt that they did not get the required attention in a large group. Setting of learning objectives was agreed by 62% [Table 2] - item 3] as all the faculty members are trained in the basic course of medical education and were well versed with the importance of learning objectives.

About 63% of the students denied that every student got a fair chance to contribute to the discussion [[Table 2] - item 4] and same percentage also disagreed to the issue that current method of tutorials clarified doubts and misconceptions.[[Table 2] - item 5].

About 73% of the students did not agree to the point that tutorials were summarized at the end [[Table 2] - item 6].

Regarding the traditional tutorial method, majority of the teachers agreed that learning objectives were set in the beginning, which was also agreed by the students [[Table 5] - item 1]. Majority of teachers disagreed that current tutorial method provided enough scope for interaction [[Table 5] - item 2], that it motivated the students for active learning [Table 5] - item 3], the students were well-prepared with the topic [[Table 5] - item 4] that every student took part in discussion during tutorials [[Table 5] - item 5] and that points were summarized at the end of tutorial [[Table 5] - item 7]. The reason for not having enough interaction can be linked to the bigger group size and not being able to provide the required interaction also evident by the open-ended responses in [Table 3] in which teachers commented on the group size. Teachers felt that if students are well-prepared, they will take part in discussion which will result in active learning. Role of teacher in tutorials is to facilitate the discussion rather than teaching was agreed by 86% of the teachers [[Table 5] - item 6]. This was evident by the fact that all the teachers were trained in basic courses and advanced courses of medical education.
Table 5: Traditional Method of Tutorials: Teachers' Perception


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For in-depth views of the students regarding tutorials, FGD was conducted. FGD was conducted as per themes, and it revealed that the students as well as teachers demanded small group size in tutorials, discussion and that importance of tutorials should be reinforced from the beginning [Table 6].
Table 6: Focus Group Discussion Responses of Students and Teachers


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From the need assessment study of batch of 2012, following findings and suggestions were noted:

  • Tutorials lacked interaction and rapport building between teacher and student
  • Traditional method of conducting tutorials did not meet the expectations of the students in terms of enhancing communication skills, improving confidence, self-motivation.
  • Teachers were also dissatisfied with the methodology with regards to interactivity, participation, and preparation level of students.
  • Students and teachers both agreed on some points like lack of interactivity, large group size, monotony, that the importance of tutorials should be stressed from the beginning and
  • Method of conducting tutorials should be revisited with adequate modifications.



  Acknowledgment Top


The authors would like to thank Dr. Anjali Vagga, Dr. Meghali Kaple, Dr. Archana Dhok, Dr. Alka Rawekar, Dr. Nazli Quazi, Dr. Avinash Taksande, and Dr. Preeti Thute for their co-operation in the study.

 
  References Top

1.
Tutorial. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Available from: http://www.merriam-webster.com. [Last accessed on 2013 Jul 14].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Rehman R, Khan AN, Kamran A. Role of small group interactive sessions in two different curriculums based medical colleges. J Pak Med Assoc 2012;62:920-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Elton L. Research and teaching : c0 onditions for a positive link. Teach High Educ 2001;6:43-56.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Kommalage M, Imbulgoda N. Introduction of student-led physiology tutorial classes to a traditional curriculum. Adv Physiol Educ 2010;34:65-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Performance Monitoring and Evaluation TIPS: Conducting Focus Group Interviews. USAID Center for Development Information and Evaluation. Available from: http://www.pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/pnaby233.pdf. [Last accessed on 2013 Dec 02].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Ghosh S. Combination of didactic lectures and case-oriented problem-solving tutorials toward better learning: Perceptions of students from a conventional medical curriculum. Adv Physiol Educ 2007;31:193-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Lee RM, Kwan CY. The use of problem-based learning in medical education. J Med Educ 1997;1:149-57.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Harden RM, Sowden S, Dunn WR. Educational strategies in curriculum development : t0 he SPICES model. Med Educ 1984;18:284-97.  Back to cited text no. 8
[PUBMED]    
9.
Anderson C. Enabling and shaping understanding through tutorials. Available from : 0 http://www.docs.hss.ed.ac.uk/iad/learningteaching/Academic_teaching/Resources /Experience_of_learning/EoLchapter12.pdf. [Last accessed on 2013 Dec 02].  Back to cited text no. 9
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]



 

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