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Abstract

Although Malaysia was the first country in Asia to adopt problem-based learning (PBL), the impact that this has had on its tutors remains largely unexplored. This paper details a qualitative study of the changing perceptions of teaching roles in two groups of problem-based learning tutors in two institutional contexts—one in medicine located in Kuala Lumpur and one in engineering located in Johor Bahru. Using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis, the authors attempt to describe the way in which the two groups have experienced their changing professional world, and the mental processes through which they rationalize the transformation of Malaysia’s educational landscape. This paper discusses four themes of analysis: (1) Tutor perceptions are embedded in the context of Malaysian hierarchical social structures, (2) tutors recount a rewarding but challenging move to PBL, (3) tutors display widely different attitudes towards the role of expertise in PBL, and (4) tutors attempt to construct explanations and rationalize their emotional experiences with PBL.

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