Knowledge integration and reasoning as a function of instruction in a hybrid medical curriculum.

Vimla L. Patel, Jose F. Arocha, Sumedha Chaudhari, Daniel R. Karlin, Dalius J. Briedis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study investigates the effect of curricular change on knowledge integration and reasoning processes during problem-solving by medical students. The curricular change involved the introduction of problem-based, small group tutorials into a conventional health science curriculum (CC). Students at three levels of training were asked to provide diagnostic explanations of two clinical cases, both before (spontaneous) and after (primed) being exposed to basic science information relevant to the clinical problems. Data were analyzed using techniques of propositional and semantic analysis. Based on theories of instruction and cognition, we expected that the instructional changes would facilitate knowledge integration and influence the reasoning patterns of the students. The results show that students generated fewer inferences and used more information from the basic science text (text-based) to explain the clinical problems. However, they generated a greater number of elaborations during explanations using a mixture of data-driven and hypothesis-driven strategies. The spontaneous and primed problem-solving conditions produced more hypothesis-driven and data-driven strategies, respectively, as would be expected in a hybrid curriculum. We conclude that a) problem-based, small group tutorials facilitate integration of clinical and biomedical knowledge through the use of elaborations and hypothesis-driven strategies, and b) aspects of problem-based learning can be successfully integrated into traditional curricula.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1186-1211
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


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