Student tutors for problem-based learning in dental hygiene: A Study of tutor actions

Tricia Moore, Daniel L. Kain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This case study illuminates contextual factors related to the tutor experience when senior students served as tutors for sophomore students in a problem-based learning (PBL) course in a baccalaureate dental hygiene program. Data were collected using various sources and methods. Tutors and administrators were interviewed, those tutored completed an anonymous questionnaire, the tutorial process and tutor training sessions were observed, and related documents were examined. Data analysis included open and axial coding, creation of tutor profiles, and identification of patterns. Tutor training included experiencing the PBL student role, attending class, and weekly seminar sessions facilitated by a tutor supervisor. Analysis revealed that tutor behaviors could be distinguished by the nature of intended actions (e.g., telling, asking, clarifying, acknowledging), emphasis of comments (process, content, social), and facilitation style (directive, suggestive, empowering). Patterns in tutor behavior and attitudes emerged related to comfort or growth and persistence or lenience. Differences in tutor understanding and perception of their role and the purpose of PBL appeared to influence the role the tutor assumed. Other factors that influenced tutor behavior included tutor intentions, tutor training, and environmental factors (e.g., time). The study, incorporating Fishbein's integrative model, suggests points of influence on tutor behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)805-816
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Dental hygiene education
  • Faculty development
  • Pedagogy
  • Peer mentoring
  • Problem-based learning
  • Team-based learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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