Teaching medical ethics: problem-based learning or small group discussion?

  • Akram Heidari
  • Seyyed-Hassan Adeli
  • Sadegh-Ali Taziki
  • Valliollahe Akbari
  • Mohammad-Reza Ghadir
  • Seyyed-Majid Moosavi-Movahhed
  • Roghayyeh Ahangari
  • Parvaneh Sadeghi-Moghaddam
  • Mohammad-Rahim Mirzaee
  • Vahid Damanpak-Moghaddam
Keywords: Medical ethics, Medical education, Problem-based learning, Small group discussion,


Lecture is the most common teaching method used in ethics education, while problem-based learning (PBL) and small group discussion (SGD) have been introduced as more useful methods. This study compared these methods in teaching medical ethics. Twenty students (12 female and 8 male) were randomly assigned into two groups. The PBL method was used in one group, and the other group was taught using the SGD method. Twenty-five open-ended questions were used for assessment and at the end of the course, a course evaluation sheet was used to obtain the students' views about the advantages and disadvantages of each teaching method, their level of satisfaction with the course, their interest in attending the sessions, and their opinions regarding the effect of teaching ethics on students' behaviors.The mean score in the PBL group (16.04 ± 1.84) was higher than the SGD group (15.48 ± 2.01). The satisfaction rates in the two groups were 3.00 ± 0.47 and 2.78 ± 0.83 respectively. These differences were not statistically significant.Since the mean score and satisfaction rate in the PBL group were higher than the SGD group, the PBL method is recommended for ethics education whenever possible.
How to Cite
Heidari A, Adeli S-H, Taziki S-A, Akbari V, Ghadir M-R, Moosavi-Movahhed S-M, Ahangari R, Sadeghi-Moghaddam P, Mirzaee M-R, Damanpak-Moghaddam V. Teaching medical ethics: problem-based learning or small group discussion?. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 6:1-.