• Users Online: 64
  • Print this page
  • Email this page


 
 
Table of Contents
PERSPECTIVE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 90-91

Encouraging medical students to become self-directed learners through conduction of small-group learning sessions


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission14-Nov-2020
Date of Decision02-Dec-2020
Date of Acceptance08-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication12-Apr-2021

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jnsm.jnsm_142_20

Rights and Permissions
  Abstract 


In the field of medical education, learning among medical students is found to be deeper and more effective, when it happens in small groups. This is primarily because the small-group learning environment enables students to become self-directed learners and also gives them an opportunity to collaborate with other members of the group. An effective small-group learning session will depend upon the discussion skills of the teacher and the students and essentially includes appropriate questioning, listening patiently to the responses of others, responding to the raised questions in a polite and meaningful manner, explanation of the given problem, ensuring active preparation for the session, and smart opening and closure of the sessions. In conclusion, the conduction of an effective small-group learning sessions helps the medical student to become self-directed learner and improve their critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. It is quite essential that all the medical colleges should include small-group learning sessions within their teaching schedule and help the students to acquire subject competencies.

Keywords: Medical education, self-directed learners, small group learning


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Encouraging medical students to become self-directed learners through conduction of small-group learning sessions. J Nat Sci Med 2021;4:90-1

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Encouraging medical students to become self-directed learners through conduction of small-group learning sessions. J Nat Sci Med [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 May 18];4:90-1. Available from: https://www.jnsmonline.org/text.asp?2021/4/2/90/313644




  Introduction Top


In the field of medical education, learning among medical students is found to be deeper and more effective, when it happens in small groups.[1] This is primarily because the small-group learning environment enables students to become self-directed learners and also gives them an opportunity to collaborate with other members of the group. This is quite essential as a competent medical student should acquire the role of a leader and as an effective member of the health team while in the workplace.[1] Further, it has been reported that students who have participated in small-group learning sessions have good personality and socialization with their teaching staff.[1],[2]

Acknowledging the importance and effectiveness of small-group learning, extensive emphasis has been given toward making large-group sessions more interactive to ensure that students are actively engaged in the learning process.[2],[3] Although small-group learning is looked upon as the need of the hour in the field of medicine, it is quite a challenging task for the teachers to make it an effective session which can accomplish the intended learning outcomes.[3] The effectiveness of the session is determined from the number of participants in the session, and it is recommended to limit the number of students to 6–8 to ensure effective discussion and to avoid meaningless interactions.[1],[3]


  Methods Top


An extensive search of all materials related to the topic was carried out for the initial 15 days of November month in PubMed and Medline search engines. Relevant research articles focusing on self-directed learning in small group teaching sessions published in the period 2010-2019 were included in the review. A total of 21 studies similar to current study objectives were identified initially, of which, 13 were excluded on account of irrelevance to the present study and three were excluded due to the unavailability of the complete version of the articles. Overall, five articles were selected based upon the suitability with the current review objectives and analyzed. Keywords used in the search include small group teaching, self-directed learning, and medical education.


  Small-Group Learning and Developing a Self-Directed Learner Top


An effective small-group learning session will depend upon the discussion skills of the teacher and the students and essentially includes appropriate questioning, listening patiently to the responses of others, responding to the raised questions in a polite and meaningful manner, explanation of the given problem, ensuring active preparation for the session, and smart opening (to arouse interests among the participants) and closure (for stating the conclusion of the discussion) of the sessions.[1],[4] The teacher and the students who demonstrate such kind of discussion skills in small-group learning sessions are immensely benefitted as they tend to get an in-depth understanding of the given topic; develop critical thinking, clinical reasoning, and creative thinking; acquire problem-solving and decision-making skills; and indulge in collaborative learning.[1],[3],[4]


  Role of Teacher Top


The role of the teacher as a facilitator of the discussion cannot be undermined, as they guide the students to have a constructive discussion and encourage students to think about the topic.[3] However, it is essential that the teacher should enhance the outcome of the discussion by talking only when required, encourage those students who are shy, envisage learner-centered learning, and take active interventions to smartly minimize the possibility of dominance by some specific students.[2],[4] In addition, the teachers have to keep the discussion focused, encourage students to come prepared for the learning session, and provide constructive feedback to the students about their performance so that they can improve themselves in future discussions.[1],[3] A wide range of methods (viz. buzz group, brainstorming) have been employed to facilitate discussion so that the students can refine their skills and develop attitude and values.[3],[4],[5]


  Potential Challenges and Recommended Solutions Top


However, we have to accept the inherent challenges in conducting periodic small-group learning sessions, which includes changing the ongoing trend of large-group teaching sessions, requirement of more staff strength, dedicated staff willing to actively participate in the session, reluctance of the staff, group dynamic concern, skills of the teacher, and additional infrastructure (a greater number of classrooms or equipment).[2],[3],[4] Most of these challenges can be addressed by conducting sensitization sessions for medical teachers and the role of small-group sessions in facilitating learning and the ways in which it is better than large-group teaching sessions.[2],[3] The Medical Education Unit of Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Unit, a constituent college of Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth, Puducherry, has been playing an extremely important role in ensuring conduction of effective small group learning sessions.


  Conclusion Top


The conduction of an effective small-group learning sessions helps the medical student to become self-directed learner and improve their critical thinking and clinical reasoning skills. It is quite essential that all the medical colleges should include small-group learning sessions within their teaching schedule and help the students to acquire subject competencies.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Edmunds S, Brown G. Effective small group learning: AMEE guide no 48. Med Teach 2010;32:715-26.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Jackson D, Hickman LD, Power T, Disler R, Potgieter I, Deek H, et al. Small group learning: Graduate health students' views of challenges and benefits. Contemp Nurse 2014;48:117-28.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Shankar PR. Initiating small group learning in a Caribbean medical school. J Educ Eval Health Prof 2015;12:10.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Tricio J, Montt J, Orsini C, Gracia B, Pampin F, Quinteros C, et al. Student experiences of two small group learning-teaching formats: Seminar and fishbowl. Eur J Dent Educ 2019;23:151-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Exploring the scope of introducing Buzz Group in teaching Community Medicine to undergraduate medical students. MAMC J Med Sci 2018;4:109-10.  Back to cited text no. 5
  [Full text]  




 

Top
 
  Search
 
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

 
  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Methods
Small-Group Lear...
Role of Teacher
Potential Challe...
Conclusion
References

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed176    
    Printed2    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded36    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal