Introducing Hybrid Problem-Based Learning Modules in Ayurveda Education: Results of an Exploratory Study
Objectives: Problem-based learning (PBL) is a well-known student-centered instructional approach that is known to enhance problem-solving skills among the learners. Because teaching/learning methods in most of the Ayurveda colleges in India are still didactic and teacher centric, the effects of introducing PBL have not yet been evaluated. The primary objective of this study was to develop PBL modules for Kriya Sharira (Ayurveda Physiology) and their implementation in a hybrid format. In this method, PBL is used as an add-on component along with didactic lectures. The secondary objective of the study was to compare the learning outcomes achieved through hybrid problem-based learning (HPBL) with those achieved through conventional teaching.
Design: This is a prospectively planned post-test-only, controlled interventional design with nonequivalent groups. However, the results have been analyzed in a retrospective manner.
Subjects: Students enrolled in the first professional Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery program during two consecutive academic sessions 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 at the Banaras Hindu University were included in the study. While the cohort from 2016 to 2017 session served as the control group, the one from 2017 to 2018 session served as the experimental group.
Interventions: The instructional method commonly known as HPBL was introduced to the experimental group.
Outcome measures: Five test papers containing mostly Multiple Choice Questions for five different topics were used as the tools for evaluating the learning outcomes in both the groups. Feedback forms regarding the experiences of undergoing HPBL were obtained from experimental group.
Results: While the test results for three topics showed that the outcomes of HPBL were comparable with conventional teaching, the results on other two topics suggested that HPBL was slightly better. Feedback obtained showed that there is a considerable acceptance for HPBL over conventional method.
Conclusions: The study shows that it is possible to implement HPBL method in a large classroom in the context of Ayurveda education. The findings also indicate that students find HPBL as an acceptable teaching method.