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Year : 2007  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 7

DREEM and beyond; studies of the educational environment as a means for its enhancement

University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
S R Whittle
Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 17647175

Context: Educational environment makes an important contribution to student learning. The DREEM (Dundee Ready Educational Environment Measure) questionnaire is a validated instrument for assessing educational environment, but used alone it has little value for identifying means of remediation of poor aspects of environment. Aims: This study used qualitative analysis, in association with the DREEM questionnaire, to evaluate the educational environment across all five years of a large undergraduate medical school, and identify areas for change to enhance student experience. Method: The DREEM questionnaire was administered to 968 undergraduate students, together with an open question asking for suggested changes to current medical school practices. Items of concern highlighted by this study were further defined through qualitative analysis, using focus groups, email questionnaires and introduction of Stressful Incident reporting. Results: Through responses to the open question, two items with low scores on the DREEM questionnaire were identified as requiring remediation. Focus groups and email questionnaires were used to define the underlying causes of poor scores, which varied by student year group. Stress resulting from experiences on clinical placement was highlighted by some students, but on closer investigation found to be rare. Remedial steps to improve student support are described. Conclusions: The qualitative data have substantially enhanced questionnaire interpretation, and allowed actions to address common causes for student dissatisfaction to be undertaken. This combined methodology is recommended to other institutions wishing to improve the educational environment, and thus the overall quality of educational provision.

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