While problem-based learning (PBL) has been widely implemented in medical education, it has been acknowledged to be resource-intensive, particularly in terms of academics’ time. In some institutions, such as Bond University (Australia), casual facilitators have been employed (paid hourly) to oversee the PBL tutorials. Apart from considerable experience as PBL facilitators, they also have expertise as allied health professionals or biomedical scientists. Several facilitators have educational qualifications. Recognising that their roles have expanded beyond the PBL tutorial room, we canvassed PBL facilitators in terms of their contributions to Bond University’s medical programme. We can report that our facilitators have contributed to the renewal of Bond’s medical programme, from design (e.g. curriculum structure, case-writing) to PBL case reviews. They are also involved in formative and summative assessment. Facilitators identified that, because of their prolonged involvement with the students in small groups, they consider themselves more than facilitators of student learning. They are role models and personal guides. Recognising the value these casually employed facilitators have added to our medical programme, we will continue to develop their skills in, for example, reviewing cases and assessment. We recommend that if institutions do employ casual facilitators, their expertise and experience can add value to the curriculum and to students’ experience.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/michelle_mclean/31/