Nursing students' conceptual understanding and problem solving skills in Anatomy and Physiology

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Author: Gigare, Judy E.

Accession Number: 1502D

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Copyright Year: 2013

Abstract:

This study examined how two contrasting classroom experiences, problem-based learning and traditional approaches influence the conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills in anatomy and physiology of first year nursing students of Filamer Christian University. It determined whether there were significant differences in the pretest-post-test scores in the students' conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills. The study also determined whether a significant correlation existed between conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills of the students. The study employed the pretest-post test control group research design. The data were gathered from 50 nursing students belonging to two sections, 25 students of whom formed the control group/section and the other 25, the experimental group. The data were gathered using three instruments-Problem-Solving Skills Questionnaire, Test in Anatomy and Physiology, and Self-directed Learning Readiness Test. Qualitative data were gathered to support the quantitative data obtained using students' interview, oral presentation, and self-assessment rubrics. The study revealed the the following results: (1) the PBL and conventional understanding, although, students in the PBL group were better in conceptual understanding than the students in the students in the conventional-lecture group as shown by their higher mean scores, and high mean gain scores; (2) PBL method developed students' team-building skills better than those of students in the conventional method; (3) on the whole, no significant relationship was noted between conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills, however, a significant relationship exsted among the same variables in the PBL group; and (4) students found their PBL experience beneficial for it improved their cognitive skills, group-building skills, and time-management skills. The challenges/difficulties experienced by the students were decision making or choosing among hypothesis and gathering facts to support findings because of time constraints. PBL was found better in improving the students' conceptual understanding and team-building skills than the conventional lecture approach.


Keywords: Problem-Based Learning, Problem-Solving Skills, Nursing Students

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