N. Makhdoom, K. Heissam, M. EL-Bab, S. Shalaby, A. Abdulaal

Taibah University, Faculty of Medicine (SAUDI ARABIA)
The educational environment is manifested as the ‘‘ethos’’ or ‘‘climate’’ that affects all aspects of learning within an educational setting [1]. Many attempts has been made to define and measure the characteristics of effective learning environments using questionnaires, including some specifically designed for medical environments. The Dundee Ready Education Environment Measure (DREEM) has been used in many countries [2-3] including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and was used in this study. Here we aim to assess the undergraduate educational environment and to compare the perceptions of the educational environment of pre-clinical and clinical stage using DREEM questionnaire [1].
The DREEM questionnaire was distributed on 541 [277 male (43.83%) and 264 female (56.17%)] medical students (pre clinical – clinical phase) who participated in this study during the academic year 2007/2008.
70.5% of the participants [167 male (60.3%) and 214 (81%) female] completed the questionnaire . The mean score of the students was 109.09 ±17.74 (according to guide interpreting the overall score; 101-150 is More Positive than Negative). Furthermore; academic self perception 19.11±4.269, perception of atmosphere 24.30±5.23, social self perception 16.65±3.30, perception of learning 25.50±5.40 and finally perception of course organizers 23.37±5.25. the results also show significant (p<0.05)positive correction (using Pearson’s test) between student’s grade and gender, and age with their perception of learning and perception of atmosphere, respectively.
Further statistical analysis (using independent t-test) showed that there was a significant difference between pre-clinical and clinical phases (P=0.001). The repeated measures ANOVAS of the all students’ grades for the pre-clinical and clinical stages showed a significant difference in relation to the total DREEM score and to each of the five components of evaluation (P = 0.005).
This study, although the environment was perceived as more positive than negative in both groups, shows that in three of the five DREEM subscales, the students in the clinical years scored higher than their colleagues in the preclinical years. This indicates that the older males students appear happier in the preclinical stage and vice versa in the clinical stage the females students appear happier than the males, where there were significant differences for the males total score 114/200 when compared with the females total score 105/200. There was also a statistical significant difference for the females total score 114/200 in clinical stage when compared to the males student overall scores 108/200. The change to a clinical hospital environment may also contribute to a happier student. On individual questions the older clinical students reported higher satisfaction with the learning environment than the younger pre-clinical students.
1.Roff S, et. al. A global diagnostic tool for measuring educational environment: comparing Nigeria and Nepal. Med Teach. 2001;23:378–382.
2.Bassaw B, et. al. Students' perspectives on the educational environment, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Trinidad. Medical Teacher. 2003;25:522–526.
3.Pimparyon P, et. al. Educational environment: Student approaches to learning and academic achievement in a Thai nursing school. Medical Teacher, 2000: 22: 359–364.