Undergraduate teaching: supervising special study modules, problem-based learning and electives

This article reflects the conversations in the breakout group on this topic at the Recently Appointed Consultants symposium on Monday 22 February 2016.


Undergraduate training is an important aspect of a consultant’s role and is vital to the development of medical students for their future careers.

There are many different approaches to undergraduate training, predominantly problem-based learning (PBL) and class-based learning (CBL). Both of these styles have positives and negatives. PBL is more interactive, involves larger amounts of discussion and less information is supplied by the teacher, with the students learning from each other. This can lead to the teacher being unaware of where students obtained information, which can lead to incorrect information being used. CBL is more focused on prior preparation and the teacher is the expert in this scenario, which is more lecture based.

When PBL was first introduced, many universities focused on using this new method, but recently there has been movement away from this. There are many issues surrounding undergraduate education and it is important to maintain a balance between the two different styles in order to provide a rounded education for all medical students.

Breakout Group Leader: Professor Matthew Walters, Professor of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Glasgow, Glasgow