Purpose: The impact of the educational environment in student learning is well documented. However, there is a scarcity in the literature exploring the educational environment in chiropractic training institutions. This study aimed to identify the perceived educational environment in a chiropractic training institution and the possible perceptual differences among different demographic groups. Methods: The perceived educational environment was surveyed using Dundee Ready Education Environment (DREEM), which is a validated, self-administered, and Likert-type inventory. DREEM items focus on subdomains related to learning, teachers, self-confidence, academic atmosphere, and social environment. The results were analyzed and interpreted in relation to standard norms of DREEM and demographic variables. Results: The survey was completed by 124 chiropractic undergraduate students (response rate 83%). Statistically, the inventory items showed high correlation and the subdomains showed a close relationship. Overall the DREEM score was very high: 156.1/200 (78%). The subdomain scores were also at very high levels. However, the scoring of four items by students was consistently poor: lack of a support system for stressed students, 1.8 (SD 1.1); authoritarian teachers, 1.8 (SD 1.2); inadequate school time-tabling, 2.0 (SD 1.1); and overemphasis on factual learning, 2.0 (SD 1.0). There were no statistically significant differences in DREEM scores between gender, age, minority, and ethnicity groups. Conclusions: In general, students perceived that a sound educational environment is fostered by the institution and its educational program for all students despite their demographic variations. However, certain specific elements of the educational process may need to be addressed to improve the educational experience.
About the Authors
Per Palmgren is a senior lecturer and research fellow at the Scandinavian College of Chiropractic.
Madawa Chandratilake is a researcher at the Centre for Medical Education, University of Dundee.