Background: Case-based learning (CBL) is being utilized in medicine, nursing, and physiotherapy educational programs as a method to improve problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Although the use of CBL has increased, the student characteristics that predict performance during case-based instruction have not yet been determined. To advance understanding of important predictors, the purpose of this study was to determine whether student’s cognitive ability, motivation, and self- regulation predict their performance on case-based domain-specific knowledge and critical thinking.
Methods: Participants included 25 students from two professional programs of physiotherapy in Jaipur in the second year of a Bachelor of Physiotherapy program. Prior to participating in a 16-week case-based course, students completed the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ), the California Critical Thinking Skills Test (CCTST), the Epistemological Belief Questionnaire, and a multiple-choice test of domain-specific knowledge. Students then analyzed 10 case studies during the course. Each case study contained knowledge questions, and four of the cases included critical thinking questions requiring critical thinking. Then two hypotheses were tested: (a) Students‘ general abilities (GPA and GRE—Verbal), prior knowledge, general critical- thinking skills, epistemological beliefs, self-regulation and motivation predict performance in case-based learning as assessed by an outcome measure of case- specific knowledge and (b) students‘ general abilities (GPA and GRE—Verbal), prior knowledge, general critical-thinking skills, epistemological beliefs, self-regulation and motivation predict performance in case-based learning as assessed by an outcome measure of case-specific critical thinking.
Result: The results of the tests of the hypotheses showed that GPA was the only predictor of case-based knowledge, and GPA, GRE—Verbal, CCTST, and the critical thinking measure of the MSLQ predicted case-based critical thinking. Self-regulation contrary to the hypothesis, did not predict case-based critical thinking. The predictors only account for a small percentage of the variance in the outcome measures suggesting that other variables may account for case- specific knowledge and case-based critical thinking. These results emphasize the need for more research and the development of more sensitive tools for measurement of the variables assessed in this study.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN