Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science

Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science


Higher Education


Dr. Elyse Watkins, DHSc, PA-C, DFAAPA



Purpose: To determine if health professional students exposed to active learning have higher learning satisfaction than those taught using a traditional lecture-based, passive format.

Methods: A literature review was performed using the ERIC database. Initially, the search term "active learning" was used, followed by a query using the word "satisfaction." Then an advanced search was performed combining "active learning" with "medical students" and "satisfaction." The two initial searches produced over 13,000 results each. The search combining key terms yielded 177 results. A search replacing "medical students" with "physician assistant students" yielded only one result. Inclusion criteria for studies were; peer-reviewed, published within ten years, and English language. Studies that did not directly examine a correlation between active learning and student satisfaction were excluded.

Results: Several reviewed studies produced statistically significant results indicating students express a higher satisfaction level with active learning instructional formats when compared to passive learning, lecture-based methods.

Discussion: Multiple studies in the past have proven that student satisfaction with learning formats increases engagement, which in turn leads to increased learning gains when compared to lecture-based pedagogical methods. Students consistently express higher satisfaction with active learning when compared to lecture-based education. Medical educators can use this knowledge to adjust their teaching styles to increase student learning, engagement, and satisfaction.


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