Task-based learning versus problem-oriented lecture in neurology continuing medical education

Farhan Vakani, Wasim Jafri, Amina Ahmad, Aziz Sonawalla, Mughis Sheerani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To determine whether general practitioners learned better with task-based learning or problem-oriented lecture in a Continuing Medical Education (CME) set-up. Study Design: Quasi-experimental study. Place and Duration of Study: The Aga Khan University, Karachi campus, from April to June 2012. Methodology: Fifty-nine physicians were given a choice to opt for either Task-based Learning (TBL) or Problem Oriented Lecture (PBL) in a continuing medical education set-up about headaches. The TBL group had 30 participants divided into 10 small groups, and were assigned case-based tasks. The lecture group had 29 participants. Both groups were given a pre and a post-test. Pre/post assessment was done using one-best MCQs. The reliability coefficient of scores for both the groups was estimated through Cronbach's alpha. An item analysis for difficulty and discriminatory indices was calculated for both the groups. Paired t-test was used to determine the difference between pre- and post-test scores of both groups. Independent t-test was used to compare the impact of the two teaching methods in terms of learning through scores produced by MCQ test. Results: Cronbach's alpha was 0.672 for the lecture group and 0.881 for TBL group. Item analysis for difficulty (p) and discriminatory indexes (d) was obtained for both groups. The results for the lecture group showed pre-test (p) = 42% vs. post-test (p) = 43%; pre- test (d) = 0.60 vs. post-test (d) = 0.40. The TBL group showed pre -test (p) = 48% vs. post-test (p) = 70%; pre-test (d) = 0.69 vs. post-test (d) = 0.73. Lecture group pre-/post-test mean scores were (8.52 ± 2.95 vs. 12.41 ± 2.65; p < 0.001), where TBL group showed (9.70 ± 3.65 vs. 14 ± 3.99; p < 0.001). Independent t-test exhibited an insignificant difference at baseline (lecture 8.52 ± 2.95 vs. TBL 9.70 ± 3.65; p = 0.177). The post-scores were not statistically different lecture 12.41 ± 2.65 vs. TBL 14 ± 3.99; p = 0.07). Conclusion: Both delivery methods were found to be equally effective, showing statistically insignificant differences. However, TBL groups' post-test higher mean scores and radical increase in the post-test difficulty index demonstrated improved learning through TBL delivery and calls for further exploration of longitudinal studies in the context of CME.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-26
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons--Pakistan : JCPSP
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • General practitioners
  • Problem-based learning
  • Problem-oriented lecture
  • Task-based learning


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