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The curriculum in the University of Ruhuna Medical School is of the traditional type. Most teaching activities are faculty member-led activities. Since student-centered learning processes are considered to improve certain skills and attitudes, we introduced student-led group classes (SGCs) in physiology. Depending on the outcome of the SGCs, we planned to develop it further. We designed this study to compare student perceptions on newly introduced SGCs with traditional tutorials (TTs). Student perceptions were assessed using a mixed qualitative and quantitative method. Students recognized and appreciated some favorable features of the SGC, such as the opportunity for discussion, quality of the knowledge, active participation, improvement of presentation ability, and increased breadth of knowledge. However, the majority of students preferred the TT over the SGC despite the highlighted benefits of the SGC. Students appreciated the focused learning for examinations, written preparation, and more tutor involvement in the TT. Students requested a hybrid of the TT and SGC by incorporating mandatory written answers to the SGC with greater contributions from faculty members. Assessment methods that were not aligned with the SGC and ingrained passive didactic teaching-learning methods by students and faculty members had a negative effect on the implementation of SGCs. Cultural and economical factors also contributed adversely. In the second step of this Plan-Do-Check-Act process, we are planning to introduce new formative assessment to assess higher-order cognitive skills and a compulsory tutor training program. Some favorable components from the TT will be incorporated to the SGC.
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