Medical students' reflective writing about a task-based learning experience on public health communication
BACKGROUND: Medical educators constantly face the challenge of preparing students for public health practice.
AIMS: This study aimed to analyze students' reflections to gain insight into their task-based experiences in the public health communication selective. We have also examined their self-reported learning outcomes and benefits with regard to application of public health communication.
METHOD: Each student wrote a semi-structured reflective journal about his or her experiences leading to the delivery of a public health talk by the group. Records from 41 students were content-analyzed for recurring themes and sub-themes.
RESULTS: Students reported a wide range of personal and professional issues. Their writings were characterized by a deep sense of self-awareness and social relatedness such as increased self-worth, communications skills, and collaborative learning. The learning encounter challenged assumptions, and enhanced awareness of the complexity of behaviour change Students also wrote about learning being more enjoyable and how the selective had forced them to adopt a more thoughtful stance towards knowledge acquisition and assimilation.
CONCLUSIONS: Task-based learning combined with a process for reflection holds promise as an educational strategy for teaching public health communication, and cultivating the habits of reflective practice.