MANUSCRIPT: Medical students’ perception of their educational environment
Background: Students’ perception of the environment within which they study has shown to have a significant impact on their behavior, academic progress and sense of well-being. This study was undertaken to evaluate the students’ perception of their learning environment in an Indian medical school following traditional curricula and to study differences, if any, between the students according to the stages of medical education, i.e., the pre-clinical and clinical stages. Methodology: In the present study, the Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM) inventory was administered to undergraduate medical students of first (n = 227), third (n = 175), fifth (n = 171) and seventh (n = 123) semesters. Scores obtained were expressed as mean ± Standard Deviation (SD) and analyzed using one-way ANOVA and Dunnett’s test. P-value < 0.05 was considered as significant. Results: The mean DREEM score for our medical school was 123/200.The first-year students were found to be more satisfied with learning environment (indicated by their higher DREEM score) compared to other semester students. Progressive decline in scores with each successive semester was observed. Evaluating the sub-domains of perception, the registrars in all semesters had a more positive perception of learning (Average mean score: 29.44), their perception of course organizers moved in the right direction (Average mean score: 26.86), their academic self-perception was more on the positive side (Average mean score: 20.14), they had a more positive perception of atmosphere (Average mean score: 29.07) and their social self-perception could be graded as not too bad (Average mean score: 17.02). Conclusion: The present study revealed that all the groups of students perceived their learning environment positively. However, a few problematic areas of learning environment were perceived such as: students were stressed more often; they felt that the course organizers were authoritarian and emphasized factual learning. Implementing more problem-based learning, student counseling and workshops on teaching-learning for educators might enable us to remedy and enrich our learning environment.