Objective: To explore the perspective of Principals in a developing country regarding the learning environment of their respective undergraduate medical colleges, thus highlighting the difficulties faced by them and obtaining their recommendations for improving the educational environment.
Study Design: A concurrent mixed method study in the pragmatic paradigm using survey and interview
techniques to collect data.
Place and Duration of Study: Study was conducted from June 2015 to December 2015 involving institutional heads of seven undergraduate medical colleges in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad in Pakistan.
Material and Methods: Principals of seven undergraduate medical colleges in one city were given a brief
questionnaire to fill which was followed by interviews. The data from the questionnaire was analyzed using
SPSS-21 and the data from the interviews was analyzed using NVivo 11. Themes obtained were studied in detail for analysis and interpretation.
Results: The study determined that while the learning environment in different medical colleges is neither
uniform nor optimal, most institutional heads have similar opinions about major factors contributing to the
learning environment and face more or less similar difficulties. Curriculum emerged as the most important factor contributing to the learning environment. Lack of resources and shortage of academic staff were the main difficulties identified. Improved standards of student and faculty selection and better coordination between the colleges and the affiliated teaching hospitals were two of the important recommendations.
Conclusion: Lack of resources, shortage of the academic staff along with the curriculum issues were identified as the major factor contributing towards the learning environment.
Keywords : Environment, Learning, Medical institution, Principal, Undergraduate medical students.