Tutoring in a problem-based curriculum: expert versus nonexpert.

Daniela Bochner, Rachel L. Badovinac, Thomas H. Howell, Nadeem Y. Karimbux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many studies have examined whether being an "expert" influences the success of a tutor in a problem-based learning curriculum. There are, however, no established standards by which to determine expertise. The purpose of this study was to examine whether students evaluate expert and nonexpert tutors comparably and to determine whether setting different standards to determine expertise influences the outcome of the above findings. Tutor evaluations, consisting of eight Likert-type questions completed by first-, second-, and third-year dental students, were analyzed. Tutors were ranked by the authorswithin three different categories of expertise based on the highest educational degree they had attained, familiarity with the specific subject matter, and previous problem-based learning (PBL) experience. Linear regression analyses were then performed between each category and student evaluation results. A statistically significant difference was found in the way students evaluated experts, but only when expertise was defined by the tutor's previous tutorial experience. The findings of this study underscore the importance of the retention of dental faculty with PBL experience in a PBL-based curriculum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1246-1251
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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