This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of Problem-Based Learning and its Impact on Medical Students' Attitudes and Academic Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis




Brice, Alexandria

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


This study examined the relationship of Problem-based Learning (PBL) and medical students’ attitudinal behavior and academic outcomes. The analyses of 14 independent, primary studies conducted between 2003 –2016, on 4,981 medical students across various medical schools were included in the study. The data were examined using a meta-analysis technique. Limits were set as a means to include and exclude research studies. Studies were considered for inclusion if the study resulted in effect sizes or statistics that could be converted to effect sizes. Articles related to academic outcomes and attitudinal behaviors of medical students’ use of PBL were included. Studies that were qualitative in nature were excluded due to the statistical analysis required for meta-analysis. Educational environments outside of medical education environments and education programs outside of medical education were also excluded. Studies were identified and examined to distinguish their congruence within the inclusion criteria. Studies that were included evaluated: PBL as an active learning technique, PBL in medical classrooms and settings, medical students’ attitudinal behaviors, perceptions, and academic outcomes. Studies that yielded relevant information were retained. This study indicates that medical students’ use of Problem-based Learning had no statistically significant impact on medical students’ attitudinal behavior and academic outcomes.