Cultural attitudes to learning

Shah, B., Holloway, P. and LeRoux, C. (2013) Cultural attitudes to learning. In: 6th scientific meeting of the Irish Network of Medical Educators (INMED), 21st February to Friday 22nd February 2013, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


Introduction Students prefer different teaching methods. The cultural Background of students may impact preference for teaching methods. The role of electronic learning (e-learning) in teaching Pathology in a multicultural classroom is controversial. It is important to understand students’ opinions and adjust our teaching accordingly to cater their needs to make our teaching more effective and efficient for their learning(Vaughn and Baker, 2001). MATERIALS AND METHODS Questionnaires were distributed to stage 4 undergraduate and stage 2 graduate entry medical student cohorts. Students were asked to indicate the value of different learning methods which included attending lectures, reading around lecture notes, attending small group tutorials and using electronic resources. The usefulness of different electronic resources was also enquired. RESULT One hundred and thirty three students (43%) responded to the questionnaire; of which, 106 (79.7%) were undergraduate and 27 (20.3%) were graduate entry medical student cohorts. The responders were divided into two groups: students with English as first language and students with other than English as first language. A group of 105 students (79.5%) had English as their first language and a group of 28 students (20.5%) had other than English as their first language, of which Malay was the commonest language (67.9%). The most useful teaching methods in Pathology were ranked in following order: small group tutorials, reading around lecture notes, e-learning and attending lectures. There was statistically significant difference (p=0.0139) between both the groups of students for lectures as their learning method. Lectures were more popular among our students with other than English as their first language (41.7%). Self-study (97%) remained the students’ choice for studying medicine. E-learning appears to increase as students’ progress through medical college. Online interactive activities top our list of e-learning resources. CONCLUSION Small-group tutorial format and reading around lecture notes were perceived as the most useful learning methods in Pathology by the students. Cultural Background appears to affect students’ choice for lectures. However, other teaching modalities do not seem to be affected by cultural variation. Delivering medical education through a variety of lectures, small group teaching and electronic format remains preferable, but increasing the number of small group tutorials and developing interactive electronic resources may aid the teaching in Pathology. REFERENCE Vaughn, L. And Baker, R. (2

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