So what’s the solution? No silver bullet Problem-Based Learning (PBL) McMaster School of Medicine in Canada in 1965
Defining PBL (Project vs. Prob.) Courtesy of lejoe/Flickr
A Definition 1.Learning is student-centered 2.Learning occurs in small student groups 3.Problems form the organizing focus and stimulus 4.New information is acquired through self-directed learning Barrows, H.S. (1996). Problem-based learning in medicine and beyond: a brief overview. New directions for teaching and learning (68), 3-12.
Learner-Centered Courtesy of darinmcclure/Flickr
Really about control “identifying what they need to know to better understand and manage the problem on which they are working…” Barrows, H.S. (1996). Problem-based learning in medicine and beyond: a brief overview. New directions for teaching and learning (68), 3-12.
Teach or tutor “asks students the kinds of questions that they should be asking themselves to better understand and manage the problem” Interesting work with non-experts Barrows, H.S. (1996). Problem-based learning in medicine and beyond: a brief overview. New directions for teaching and learning (68), 3-12.
Sociology Why are there fewer women in higher education in the state of Utah? What might be possible solutions? White paper for president or legislators. Or journal article. BUT… Curriculum is then organized around exploring theories that might explain why and how it might be addressed. It is NOT organized around the development of the whitepaper
Biology A toll bridge has been proposed for Utah Lake. What are the possible environmental hazards? Meet with faculty/tutor to regularly discuss ways to break down the problem and determine areas of study. Careful balance between structuring the curriculum and allowing for self-direction.
Music Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring” was considered controversial when first released. Why? What lead to it? Curriculum of Music History course organized around understanding the events that lead up to it and what happened after. Prepare insert for classical music performance
Benefits of PBL Student satisfaction tends to be higher Research skills stronger “Acquisition of an integrated knowledge base”
Challenges to PBL Courtesy of mariachily/Flickr
PBL students more likely to include extraneous material in explanation. Albanese, M. & Michell, S. (1993). Problem-based learning: A review of literature on its outcomes and implementation issues. Academic Medicine, 68(1), 52-81.
Why aren’t you lecturing? Students trained and thrived on lectures Active role is frustrating Albanese, M., & Mitchell, S. (1993). Problem-based learning: A Review of Literature on its outcomes and implementation issues. Academic Medicine, 68(1), 52-81.
22% longer to cover same material Can be a lot of time for faculty both in transition and running a PBL course Shahabudin, S. H. (1987). Content Coverage in Problem-Based Learning. Med. Educ. 21:310-313.
Med. students More backwards reasoning (unknown to givens); concern because experts use forward reasoning Less decisive More likely to choose teaching and research More likely to recommend psychotherapy and refer patients more often Maybe
Other general PBL issues Infrastructure Faculty restructuring their time; can be stressful Attrition Assessing group work Gains aren’t as big as hoped Colliver, J.A. (2000). Effectiveness of problem-based learning curricula: research and theory. Academic Medicine, 75(3), 259-266.
PBL Prescription Symptoms : PowerPoint poisoning, students suffering a terminal case of boredom, teacher losing the will to live. Side effects : extra time, mild to moderate student discomfort, multiple meetings in one week or day, weight gain from meeting on the first floor of library PBL is not meant for teachers whose self-esteem is tied to the podium If students approach with pitchforks, discontinue use of PBL immediately. Ask a trained professional (including yourself) if PBL is right for you