Small Group Workshop as an Active Learning Strategy for Teaching Pharmacokinetics: Implementation and Outcomes in Undergraduate Classroom

Sunita Dahiya

Abstract


A pharmacokinetics course is offered in most pharmacy curricula; however, it is generally not well received by students due to its basis in mathematics and the difficulty experienced in linking basic concepts with clinical relevance. Therefore, it is imperative to reorient conventional classroom teaching of pharmacokinetics courses towards achieving enhanced outcomes in terms of problem-solving and critical thinking skills of students in clinical practice based settings. In this context, a novel small group workshop approach was designed and implemented to teach a pharmacokinetics course to undergraduate pharmacy students. The course design and delivery were based on active participation and learning by professional students in teacher centric small group workshop (SGW) sessions through practice based learning. Another group was taught with traditional didactic classroom lectures (CRL). Students’ assessment was carried out based on grade scores obtained in pharmacokinetic problem solving and answering the given questionnaire in each group. An anonymous written feedback was administered following completion of the course to determine students’ perception of the delivery method. The majority of the SGW students reported that they were active learners in small groups whereas only a few from the CRL group believed that they actively participated in the learning process. Students’ agreement that they would be able to analyse and interpret given pharmacokinetic data displayed major differences in both groups as evidenced from the feedback response. Further, there was a positive response among SGW students in their perceived ability to apply pharmacokinetic theory to the specific case scenario after attending the small group workshop sessions; paradoxically to the responses such as “Disagree” or “Unsure” about this parameter after attending the traditional classroom lectures. The study findings suggested that small group workshops offer students a tangible method to increase their overall level of understanding, comfort and confidence in the application of pharmacokinetics concepts in therapy. The small group workshop can be utilised as a potential instructional method for active and meaningful learning for the delivery of pharmacokinetics courses.

Key words: pharmacokinetics; pharmacokinetic parameters; small group teaching; workshops; data treatment


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