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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 71  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 178-185

Problem-based learning using online platforms: An interactive alternative to mandatory e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic

Department of Anatomy, Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation, Trivandrum, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mamata Chimmalgi
Department of Anatomy, Sree Gokulam Medical College and Research Foundation, Venjaramoodu, Trivandrum – 695 607, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jasi.jasi_13_22

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Introduction: Problem-based learning (PBL) helps in contextual and experiential learning. PBL using online platforms (PBL-op) was introduced to counter the declining interest in the mandatory e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of PBL-op on learning outcome; student perception of PBL-op; effect of communication and motivation on learning outcome; and performance in PBL-op. Material and Methods: Study participants were introduced PBL-op and the control group to PBL in classroom setting. Five-way assessment was done: learning outcome by pre-and postintervention tests; performance by project reports and presentations; communication skills; motivation; and student satisfaction through an anonymous survey. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, paired or independent t-tests to compare paired variables, Spearman's correlation to establish association, and theme-based analysis for qualitative inputs. Results: Students showed better learning outcome with PBL op than with e learning (t = 11.199; P < 0.001*), traditional teaching (t = 12.193; P < 0.001*) and PBL in classroom setting (t = −15.493; P < 0.001*; d = 1.83). Women outperformed men with PBL-op (t = −2.74; P = 0.0034*; d = 0.48). Performance in PBL was better when conducted using online platforms than in classroom setting (t = 8.5471; P < 0.001*; d = 1.01). However, learning outcome and performance in PBL-op did not show a significant association with motivation or communication skills. Students favored PBL-op as it offered them an opportunity for active participation. Discussion and Conclusion: PBL-op offers all the advantages of PBL and allows productive teamwork using familiar online platforms and freedom from restrictive class timings. It is, therefore, suggested that PBL-op may be used as a feasible and effective alternative to PBL even after the pandemic.

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