Graduate Programs

Student Learning Outcomes
Medical Science, M.S.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an active student-directed educational method. In PBL learners progressively develop autonomous learning skills. Learners increasingly continue to learn on their own in the program and in life. A facilitator provides the educational materials and guidance that enhances learning. A real world problem is the basis of PBL. A complex PBL problem stimulates the learner to organize and integrate learned information in ways that promote its recall and application to future problems. PBL problems challenge learners to acquire problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Learners process and solve a problem with information they may already possess permitting them to validate what they already know. They also identify and inquire into what they need to know. Learners engage in independent study researching learning issues using different resources such as books, reports, journals, online information, individuals with relevant expertise. Thus, PBL personalizes learning to individual needs and learning styles. Learners return with their research reports and apply their expanded understanding of the problem in order to resolve it. At the conclusion of a PBL case, learners assess their work, each other and the facilitator.

MCAT Problem-based Learning

MCAT Problem-based learning (PBL) is an active student-directed learning process guided by tutors.  Students meet in small groups for 3 hours three times per week for 9 weeks to process MCAT-like passages and solve MCAT-like questions using PBL principles.  Most of the tutors have completed at least the first of the medical curriculum at Indiana University School of Medicine and have experience in PBL techniques.

The goals of the MCAT PBL are as follows:

  • Use MCAT-like passages to promote student understanding of the MCAT
  • Enhance student confidence through mastery of test-taking skills
  • Promote students' reasoning and problem solving skills through analysis of  MCAT passages to identify significant facts, identify learning issues, make appropriate answer choices.
  • Provide an learning environment in which students collaboratively direct their own learning.
  • Enhance student's knowledge base and life-long learning skills through self-directed inquiry on learning issues.
Problem-based Learning in Medical Science: Year 1

This course for first year MSMS students provides an academic context in which students take responsibility for their own learning. The course uses a small team setting in which students can benefit from peer and facilitator feedback and support each other's learning.  Basic science course material constitutes the basis of clinical cases used in the MSCI X503. During PBL sessions students will analyze and explain the scientific basis of the disease process covered in a case.

The goals of the course are as follows:

  • Develop life-long learning and reasoning skills
  • Promote students' problem solving skills by analyzing a clinical case to identify significant facts, formulate hypotheses, identify learning issues, collect data, and make a diagnosis.
  • Provide an academic context in which students collaboratively direct their own learning.
  • Enhance student's knowledge base through self-directed research on learning issues.
  • Use cases to emphasize the relevance of basic science to clinical medicine.