Zamor E, Chigerwe M, Boudreaux KA, Ilkiw JE. Approaches and Study Skills of Veterinary Medical Students: Effects of a Curricular Revision. J Vet Med Educ. 2017 Fall;44(3):490-501

PMID: 28876983


The objective of this study was to determine if a revised, recently implemented curriculum, embracing an integrated block design with a focus on student-centered, inquiry-based learning, had a different effect on veterinary medical students' approaches to studying than the previous curriculum. A total of 577 students completed a questionnaire consisting of the short version of the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory for Students (ASSIST). It included questions relating to conceptions about learning, approaches to studying, and preferences for different types of courses and teaching. In addition, students were asked to respond to general questions regarding the design of the revised curriculum. The scores for the deep and strategic learning approaches were higher for students studying under the previous curriculum compared to the revised curriculum, despite the fact that the revised curriculum was specifically designed to foster deep learning. The scores for the surface learning approach were lower in the students studying the revised curriculum compared to students studying under the previous curriculum. We identified the following factors affecting student learning: alteration of learning activities, such as problem-based learning, from the recommended models; a lack of instructor support for the revised curriculum; assessments that were not aligned to encourage critical thinking; and directed self-learning activities that were too comprehensive to complete in the allotted time. The results of this study can be used to improve the implementation of student-centered and inquiry-based curricula by identifying potential problems that could prevent a deep learning approach in veterinary medical students.