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A prominent feature of the current interest in improvement of medical education has been recognition of the inadequacy of passive student learning, rote memorization of facts, and regurgitation of such memorized knowledge via subject-specific examinations. Relevance of the basic sciences to clinical situations, active student self-learning, and the catalytic effect on learning indigenous to the small-group problem-solving process are some of the main features of what has come to be known as "problem-based learning." This method has been used in an increasing number of medical schools over the past two decades, received a sort of unofficial sanction via the General Professional Education of the Physician (GPEP) report, and now, with the American Association of Medical Colleges supporting workshops to assist schools to adopt this pedadogical methodology, would seem to be generally recognized as an important and intriguing alternative to traditional lecture-based teaching.
Dr Barrows has been a prominent contributor to
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