Student use and perceptions of different learning aids in a problem-based learning (PBL) dentistry course

Tania M. Gerzina*, Rebecca Worthington, Scott Byrne, Catherine McMahon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


First-year dental students in a new problem-based learning (PBL) course, the Bachelor of Dentistry (BDent) Program at the University of Sydney, Australia, completed the Study Process Questionnaire and two other questionnaires in this study. The study aimed to identify student perceptions of a written formative assessment and the helpfulness of various learning aids used to prepare for this assessment and preparing to be a dental clinician. Correlations between approach to learning and perceptions of assessment and learning aids showed theoretically expected associations. Surface learning was associated with students' concerns regarding whether assessment items reflected curriculum content, a valuing of lectures as a learning aid, and low scores for theme sessions. Deep learning was associated with a perception that the assessment tested application of basic and clinical sciences and a valuing of both independent study groups and learning topics as learning aids. An achievement orientation to learning was associated with a valuing of formative assessment as a learning aid and an intention to modify study habits as a result of participating in formative assessment. The findings provide insight into student learning in a PBL context that will help teachers and curriculum developers better understand the value of teaching aids provided in the program and the impact assessment has on study styles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-653
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes

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