Maximizing the value of feedback for individual facilitator and faculty development in a problem-based learning curriculum

Jacqueline van Wyk*, Michelle Mclean

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Recruiting and retaining facilitators in problem-based learning requires considerable staff development. Providing meaningful feedback to individual facilitators should contribute to improved management of the tutorial group. Aim: To ascertain the value ascribed by facilitators to feedback they received (based on student input) regarding their performance in the small group tutorial in a new problem-based learning curriculum. Methods: Thirty-seven facilitators from a purposive sample, selected for their facilitation experience during the 2001-2003 period, completed a comprehensive survey regarding their experiences. The aspect currently being reported deals with the perceived usefulness of the feedback they received from students and from Faculty following the evaluation of their participation in the small group tutorial. Data are reported for medically qualified and non-medically qualified facilitators. Results: Both clinical (50%) but more notably the non-clinical (70%) facilitators found the feedback (individual facilitator and general report) useful. Facilitators generally preferred the qualitative comments provided by students in the open-ended section of the evaluation to the Likert scale items. Student comments were valued for the specific direction they offered facilitators to reflect and improve on their management of the small group. For this feedback to be more useful, however, facilitators believed that it needed to be completed by more students who took time to critically engage with the criteria and reflect more honestly on their experiences. In addition, facilitators requested for feedback reports to be made available sooner such that they could improve their facilitation skills for the next group of students. Conclusions: Both qualitative and quantitative feedback are important for facilitator development and training. While quantitative feedback is important for summative purposes (e.g. quality assurance and promotion), individual student comments provide more formative feedback, allowing facilitators to reflect on and improve their management of the small group. In order for the feedback to be valid, the majority of students had to participate. Facilitators should receive feedback in time to allow them to modify their activities for the new group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e26-e31
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


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