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ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10-14

Superficial and deep learning approaches among medical students in an interdisciplinary integrated curriculum


1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, P. O. Box 17666, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, P. O. Box 17666, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
3 Department of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, P. O. Box 17666, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates
4 Department of Educational Development and Educational Research, Maastricht University, P. O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hisham M. Mirghani
Department Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, P. O. Box 17666, Al-Ain
United Arab Emirates
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.134293

Introduction: Students' learning approaches have a significant impact on the success of the educational experience, and a mismatch between instructional methods and the learning approach is very likely to create an obstacle to learning. Educational institutes' understanding of students' learning approaches allows those institutes to introduce changes in their curriculum content, instructional format, and assessment methods that will allow students to adopt deep learning techniques and critical thinking. The objective of this study was to determine and compare learning approaches among medical students following an interdisciplinary integrated curriculum. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study in which an electronic questionnaire using the Biggs two-factor Study Process Questionnaire (SPQ) with 20 questions was administered. Results: Of a total of 402 students at the medical school, 214 (53.2%) completed the questionnaire. There was a significant difference in the mean score of superficial approach, motive and strategy between students in the six medical school years. However, no significant difference was observed in the mean score of deep approach, motive and strategy. The mean score for years 1 and 2 showed a significantly higher surface approach, surface motive and surface strategy when compared with students in years 4-6 in medical school. Discussion: The superficial approach to learning was mostly preferred among first and second year medical students, and the least preferred among students in the final clinical years. These results may be useful in creating future teaching, learning and assessment strategies aiming to enhance a deep learning approach among medical students. Future studies are needed to investigate the reason for the preferred superficial approach among medical students in their early years of study.


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