Student perceptions of tutor skills in problem-based learning tutorials

M. Das, D. J.S. Mpofu, M. Y. Hasan, T. S. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The problem-based learning (PBL) tutor plays a role that is different from the role of a teacher in a conventional teaching format. In the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates, all students are Arab nationals and tutors are expatriates with different sociocultural backgrounds from the students. This study was designed to investigate how students evaluate tutors in PBL tutorials and whether student evaluations of tutors change with the progress of students in PBL tutorials. Methods: Differences in tutor performance evaluation by male and female students were also analysed. The students evaluated 12 tutor skills in a scale of 1-3, 1 being 'below average' and 3, 'outstanding'. Student responses from a total of 314 (98.1%) completed forms collected over 2 academic years were analysed statistically. A total of 14 tutors participated in the PBL programme. Results: The analysis revealed that tutors as a group were rated as having average to outstanding tutor skills in 10 items of the evaluation form. Students and faculty perceptions were different for the tutor skills of guiding students for information management. The students expected more support from tutors, whereas the tutors tried to emphasize self-learning in the PBL curriculum. Lower scores to the tutors in the 'problem' bringing sociocultural and religious issues for discussion showed that a gap in sociocultural/religious understanding between students and tutors might influence tutor skills. Conclusions: Differences in tutor evaluation by male and female students indicate necessity of adopting different strategies by tutors in a different sociocultural background. The results of the study have direct implications for faculty development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-278
Number of pages7
JournalMedical Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Education, medical/methods/standards
  • Faculty/standards
  • Problem-based learning
  • Students, medical
  • United Arab Emirates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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