Background: The objective of this study is to investigate the perceptions of first and third year medical students on self-study and reporting processes of Problem-based Learning (PBL) sessions and their usage of learning resources.
Methods: The questionnaire applied to the students consisted of; questions about students' perceptions on searching and preparing phases of the self-study process, the breadth and depth of discussion during reporting phase and the usage of learning resources.
Results: First-year students spent more time for self-study and more highly rated the depth of discussion compared to third-year students. The searching and preparing phases of the self-study process were considered as statistically important factors strongly influencing the breadth and depth of discussion during the reporting phase. The effect of extensiveness of searching on the depth of discussion was negative among the first-year students, and positive among third-year students.
Conclusions: The relative shortness of third-year students' self-study periods can be related to their mental weariness, decreased motivation or first-year students' slowness in accessing appropriate resources. The third-year students' more frequent use of textbooks may be due to the improvement of their abilities in reaching relevant learning resources. The findings implied that the increase in students' PBL experience paralleled the development of their discussion skills using different learning resources.