The Effect of Enhanced Experiential Learning on the Personal Reflection of Undergraduate Medical Students

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Aukes, Leo C. ; Geertsma, Jelle ; Cohen-Schotanus, Janke ; Zwierstra, Rein P. ; Slaets, Joris P.J. (2008)

Objective: This study’s aim was to test the expectation that enhanced experiential learning is an effective educational method that encourages personal reflection in medical students. Methods: Using a pre post-test follow-up design, the level of the personal reflection ability of an exposure group of first-year medical students participating in a new enhanced experiential learning program was compared to that of a control group of second- and third-year medical students participating in a standard problem-based learning program. Personal reflection was assessed using the Groningen Reflection Ability Scale (GRAS). Students’ growth in reflection was analyzed with multilevel analysis. Results: After one year, first-year medical students in the exposure group achieved a level of personal reflection comparable to that reached by students of the control group in their third year. This difference in growth of reflection was statistically significant (p < .001), with a small effect size (effect size = 0.18). The reflection growth curve of the control group declined slightly in the third year as a function of study time. Conclusion: Enhanced experiential learning has a positive effect on the personal reflection ability of undergraduate medical students.
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