Objectives: A challenge of primarily didactic courses lies in keeping students engaged in a potentially monotonous learning environment. The objective of this study was to test the effectiveness of incorporating student-led activities into the pharmaceutical sciences curriculum. This alternative approach to traditional lecture-based learning allows for student engagement and ownership of materials. These activities were incorporated into P1 Pharmacology, Biosystems, and Calculations courses.
Methods: A variety of student-led learning activities were conducted in three courses (n=78 students). Following each activity, students were asked to participate in a survey rating the effectiveness, relevancy, productiveness, and overall impression of the activity using a Likert scale of 1-5 (1= strongly disagree; 5 = strongly agree). Additionally, exam scores from relevant material were analyzed from the current semester and previous semesters as an indirect indication of success of the activity.
Results: For the three courses where student-led learning activities were incorporated, students responded that the topics were relevant to their studies (4.78), having the material presented in a different way was beneficial (3.89), and they would recommend conducting the sessions in the future (3.88). Exam scores did not show any statistically significant increase from the previous year, but qualitative data suggests the students benefited from the introduction of these activities.
Implications: Student-led learning activities in pharmaceutical sciences courses, as evaluated by student impressions, are a successful way of reinforcing classroom topics and presenting information from a different perspective. They also serve as a productive way to introduce learning variation even in large class sizes.
Lull, Melinda E.; Mathews, Jennifer L.; Jannetta, E. C.; and Birnie, Christine R., "Student-led Learning in the Pharmaceutical Sciences Curriculum" (2011). Pharmacy Faculty Publications. Paper 6.
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