Objective To investigate students' perceptions of problem-based learning in the acquisition of relevant knowledge, generic skills and attitudes in a setting where this is a vital component of the medical undergraduate hybrid curriculum. Methods 464 undergraduate medical students in four consecutive batches (two in the first year and two in the second year of the medicine programme) at Melaka Manipal Medical College were enrolled in this cross-sectional study. A pre-validated questionnaire with 15 items classified into three domains addressing acquisition of knowledge, generic skills and attitudes was developed and administered to all students, who responded on a five-point Likert scale. Results Problem-based learning improved the students' acquisition of knowledge, generic skills and attitudes, with positive correlations (0.451-0.72) between scores in all three domains. Problem-based learning affected not only typical competence in interpersonal and cognitive domains but also more general work-related skills considered important for success in professional practice. Conclusions Problem-based learning in small groups provided students with a favourable, safe environment for developing the necessary skills and attitudes. This study not only fills a gap but also shows the advantages of problem-based learning as perceived by students in a hybrid medical curriculum.
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