Testing the water - problem-based learning and the cultural dimension

Angela Darvill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study reports the findings of a small case study using problem-based learning (PBL) as a teaching and learning strategy in a cultural awareness module, which forms part of a pre-registration diploma in nursing course. The study was carried out using a qualitative research methodology. It aimed to describe and explore 20 diplomat student nurses and their lecturers' experience of undertaking PBL. The categories that emerged from the analysis were: knowledge development and PBL process. A selection of these categories and their sub-categories are described and discussed in relation to the literature on problem-based learning. The study concluded that undergoing PBL as a teaching and learning strategy had positive outcomes for the students. Prior knowledge was utilised in knowledge development in relation to the problem and was seen as beneficial. Students reported that they felt more confident and used the knowledge gained to care for patients' cultural needs in practice. Students also identified lack of knowledge amongst staff in the clinical area in relation to cultural awareness. There were however some challenges in the transition to a PBL strategy from the perspective of the students and lecturers. Issues that were found to be difficult include the change to a different teaching and learning strategy, the implications of self-direction for the student and the role of the facilitator as a non-directive guide. The study recommends that the findings may be of use for other nurse educators implementing PBL as a teaching and learning strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-79
Number of pages8
JournalNurse Education in Practice
Issue number2
Early online date14 Feb 2003
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


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