Effectiveness of tutor shadowing on faculty development in problem-based learning

BMC Med Educ. 2022 Jul 22;22(1):564. doi: 10.1186/s12909-022-03615-0.


Background: To enhance tutors' teaching skills, tutor shadowing for novice tutors of problem-based learning (PBL) in addition to conventional faculty development (FD) was applied. This study aimed to develop a tutoring-skill scale (TS-scale) and evaluate the effect of shadowing on PBL tutors.

Methods: This study employed a before-and-after study design with three phases. In phase 1, a TS-scale was elaborated. A validity examination was performed in phase 2. Phase 3 was a study of the effectiveness using a TS-scale survey of novice PBL tutors before and after the FD course. The FD course for novice PBL tutors included an FD workshop and PBL shadowing activities.

Results: A TS-scale with a 32-item questionnaire of self-rated confidence for PBL tutors was identified in phase 1. In phase 2, 7 experienced specialists in medical education were invited to evaluate the content validity of the scale. The item content validity index (I-CVI) ranged from 0.86 to 1, and the scale-CVI (S-CVI) was 0.95. A total of 85 novice PBL tutors completed the TS-scale before the FD course, yielding a Cronbach's alpha of 0.98. An exploratory factor analysis with varimax rotation was performed. The twenty-four items with significant loadings greater than 0.5 were incorporated into a new TS-scale and were grouped into three factors: student contact, medical expertise, and teaching expertise. In phase 3, 76 novice PBL tutors completed the 24-item TS-scale before (pretest) and after (posttest) the FD course. Their self-rated confidence improved significantly across the three factors after the FD course. The pretest and posttest scores did not differ according to the tutors' gender, the grades they taught, or their specialty background.

Conclusions: Novice PBL tutors benefit from FD that incorporates tutor shadowing in the 3 key domains of tutoring competencies. The TS-scale developed in this study can be applied in future research on FD design.

Keywords: Faculty development; Problem-based learning; Tutor shadowing.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Students, Medical*
  • Teaching