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Problem-Based Learning for Student Engagement Leslie Russek, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS Associate Professor Physical Therapy Department Clarkson University Slides.

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Presentation on theme: "Problem-Based Learning for Student Engagement Leslie Russek, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS Associate Professor Physical Therapy Department Clarkson University Slides."— Presentation transcript:

1 Problem-Based Learning for Student Engagement Leslie Russek, PT, DPT, PhD, OCS Associate Professor Physical Therapy Department Clarkson University Slides available electronically at:

2 Objectives Explain Problem-Based Learning (PBL) –Identify benefits of PBL –Critique PBL: challenges and limitations –Engage in a sample PBL case Contrast PBL with: –Project-based learning –Process-oriented guided inquiry learning –Peer-led team learning Brainstorm ways to apply in our courses Russek: PBL2

3 History of PBL Initially used in medical education –Massive amounts of rapidly changing information –Need skills in: Life-long, self-directed learning Problem-solving Collaboration and communication Current application –Professional, undergraduate, primary Russek: PBL3

4 PBL Structure Groups of 4-10 students –Students may have assigned roles Facilitator, scribe, time-keeper Tutor (faculty or professional) Tutorials typically 2 hrs, 2-3x/week Access to resources: –Meeting space –Computers, library… Russek: PBL4

5 The PBL Problem A realistic “problem,” case, scenario –Engaging and motivating –Messy –No simple or single answer Format: –Paper scenario, experimental or lab data, photographs, video clips, newspaper articles, part of journal article, real or simulated patient. (Wood, 2003) Russek: PBL5

6 Creating Problems Inherently interesting –Should motivate desired learning issues Cues should stimulate discussion Realistic to facilitate integration –Sufficiently open-ended Promotes use of varied resources Appropriate to stage of learning (Wood, 2003 Russek: PBL6

7 The Tutorial Process Russek: PBL7

8 Hypothesis Generation Wanda is a 72 year old woman who had a total knee replacement 1 week ago. She is now able to walk only a few feet without a walker. –Generate hypotheses as to why she is unable to walk normally –Identify information you will need Russek: PBL8

9 Hypotheses: Why Wanda Can’t Walk Russek: PBL9 Total knee replacement Pain Muscles cut in surgery Weaker after surgery Weak before surgery Bilateral arthritis Pain in other knee Balance problems Unwilling to put weight on leg Fearful

10 Pedagogical Foundation Social constructivism Content better understood & retained More effective for adult learners Encourages deep learning –Active search for understanding –Contrasts with superficial learning (Wood, 2003; Schmidt 2006; Eberlein, 2008; Spencer & Jordan, 1999; Onyon, 2012 Russek: PBL10

11 Adult Learning Self-directed Draws on previous experience Value relevance –Problem solving –Immediate applicability Active participation –Mutual trust and respect. Cycles of action and reflection (Spencer & Jordan, 1999; Onyan, 2012) Russek: PBL11

12 Generic Skills in PBL Teamwork –Cooperation –Group facilitation –Active listening –Respect for colleagues’ views Presentation and communication skills Self directed learning –Seeking and using resources Critical evaluation of resources/literature (Wood, 2003; Schmidt, 2006) Russek: PBL12

13 Disadvantages of PBL Requires more staff for multiple groups –Tutors require training Requires space (tutorial rooms) Faculty may struggle –Must refrain from ‘knowledge dump’ –Must give up ‘laundry list’ (Wood, 2003) Russek: PBL13

14 Disadvantages of PBL Students sometimes struggle –Overwhelmed by information –Overwhelmed by responsibility –Discouraged by awareness of how much they do not know Students may resist –Want more lectures –Uncomfortable with reflection (Wood, 2003) Russek: PBL14

15 Roles Russek: PBL15

16 Course Coordinator Develops problems –Needs content expertise –Understands curriculum –Fluent with PBL Manages course –Weekly planning meetings with tutors –Prepares problem handouts, exams etc. Russek: PBL16

17 Tutor Tutor: “Guide by the Side” Expert vs. non-expert Lecturer: “Sage on the Stage” Russek: PBL17

18 Tutor Ensures that learning objectives are met Challenges group to think deeply & integrate Helps students learn to learn Helps group avoid becoming overwhelmed or stuck Ensures that group issues are addressed Encourages reflection on the process “30-second rule” Russek: PBL18

19 Tutoring Questions Increase participation: –What is causing this situation? –What else might be going on? –Can you explain that in more detail? Keep discussion on track: –What are you trying to accomplish? –How does this relate to…? –Why is this relevant? (Modified from Nicholl & Lou, 2012) Russek: PBL19

20 Tutoring Questions Check accountability: –Why are you choosing that approach? –Where did you find that information? –How will you know if that information is valid? Encourage thinking & problem solving –How will you know if your answer is good? –How can we organize/model this? –How does this compare with….? (Modified from Nicholl & Lou, 2012) Russek: PBL20

21 Students Identify gaps in current knowledge –Independent study –Identify and find reliable sources Share information with group –Listen and critique other students Analyze and integrate information Attend to group processes: –Facilitate participation of others, self- evaluation, group evaluation Russek: PBL21

22 Group Evaluation Self, peer & tutor feedback about the PROCESS –Not just factual content –Not words/minute (‘information dump’) Value different communication styles Identify specific process skills Russek: PBL22

23 Effectiveness of PBL Students more engaged in learning –Enjoy it more Better able to apply their knowledge –Better at problem-solving Have better group skills: –communication, collaboration, facilitation Better at self-directed learning Learn the same or slightly fewer facts –But improved retention –(Kindler, 2009; Schmidt, 2006) Russek: PBL23

24 “Brains-On” Experience Let’s try some Mini-PBL! Russek: PBL24

25 “Brains-On” Experience Form groups of 5-8 participants Select one of the “problems” Identify one person as “tutor” –Tutor will have ‘tutor guide’ information Brainstorm list of potential learning issues –May be in your domain of study or not Identify potential sources of information Russek: PBL25

26 Problem Choices Russek: PBL26 Blade Runner engineering, physics, math, biology, ethics, physical education, sociology, media Zombie Attack math, biology, education, sociology, politics, psychology, media, communication, public health, literature Salem’s Secrets history, sociology, psychology, biochemistry/chemistry, legal systems, literature, public health, theology

27 Alternative, Similar Models Project based learning (PjBL) Process-oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL) Peer-led team learning (PLTL) Eberlein T, et al. Pedagogies of engagement in science: A comparison of PBL, POGIL, and PLTL. Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2008;36(4): Russek: PBL27

28 Project-Based Learning Learning based on (real-world) project Goal directed Interdisciplinary Collaborative decision-making Generally a long-term project –Involves time in and out of the classroom Russek: PBL28 Examples: Start a coffee stand Build an electric car Create a course curriculum

29 Project-Based Learning Requires a range of skills: –Communication, collaboration, leadership, project-management, organization, problem-solving, research, presentation Requires multiple roles Reflection on success of the project –Self & peer feedback –Reflection on the learning process Russek: PBL29

30 Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) Students work through cases using instructor’s questions to guide inquiry Russek: PBL30 Example: Zombie Attack guided questions 1.In your own words, summarize how individuals can move from one state to another and at what rate. 2.Using equations for the change in numbers of susceptibles (S) over time as a guide, explain what each of the equations mean. 3.Based on the model… what strategy should humans use to survive? “Zombie Attack!” by Kyla M. Flanagan

31 POGIL Self-managed teams of 3-5 students –Instructor facilitates multiple groups Work during class hours Discuss course material using a series of carefully constructed questions Develops: –Problem-solving, deductive reasoning, communication, self-assessment skills Russek: PBL31

32 POGIL 3-phase approach –Exploration: Find meaning or patterns in a ‘model’ which may be pictures, tables, equations, prose, graphs, etc. Questions challenge students to test hypotheses, explain patterns, etc. –Conceptualization: Concept or relationship emerges & develops –Application Extend & apply concepts to new situations Russek: PBL32

33 Peer-Led Team Learning ‘Workshops’ supplement but do not replace lecture –Meet outside of class time (e.g. recitations) No limit in class size –Work in teams of 6-8 students Teams led by undergraduates who did well in the course previously –Peer leaders are trained to facilitate –Learning opportunity for team leaders Russek: PBL33

34 PLTL Example from anatomy & physiology Russek: PBL34 1.An individual has a resting cardiac output of 6000 ml and a resting heart rate of 60 BPM. a)What is her stroke volume? b)If her stroke volume at rest is 120 ml, what is her ejection fraction? 2.A partial failure of the aortic semilunar valve would likely lead to reduction in: a)End diastolic volume (this answer is T/F because) b)Cardiac output (this answer is T/F because) c)Ejection fraction (this answer is T/F because) David Lemons CCNY

35 PLTL Teams work on structured problems Problems closely integrated with course No answers provided Encouraged to find, articulate, evaluate and build confidence in answers Peer-leaders must be familiar with the course, have good people skills –Requires some supervision of collaborative sessions Russek: PBL35

36 Shared Characteristics PBLPOGILPLTL Actively engage students in solving meaningful problems using collaborative, contextual learning Help students ‘learn to learn’ as well as learn content Develop interpersonal & communication skills Russek: PBL36

37 Application How might you apply these models into your classroom? –Which models are most appropriate? –What would make a good problem? –What learning issues would that problem generate? Russek: PBL37

38 Select Resources: Citations Russek: PBL38 Eberlein T, Kampmeier J, Minderhout V, et al. Pedagogies of engagement in science: A comparison of PBL, POGIL, and PLTL. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education. 2008;36(4): Kindler P, Grant C, Kulla S, et al. Difficult incidents and tutor interventions in problem-based learning tutorials. Medical Education. 2009;43: Nicholl TA, Lou K. A model for small-group Problem-Based Learning in a large class facilitated by one instructor. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. 2012;76(6):1-6. Onyon C. Problem-based learning: a review of the educational and psychological theory. The Clinical Teacher. 2012;9: Schmidt HG, Rotgans JI, Yew EHJ. The process of problem-based learning: what works and why. Medical Education. 2011;45: Schmidt HG, Vermeulen L, van der Molen HT. Longterm effects of problem-based learning: a comparison of competencies acquired by graduates of a problem-based and a conventional medical school. Medical Education. 2006; Singaram VS. van der Vleuten, van Berkel H, Dolmans DHJM. Reliability and validity of a tutorial effectiveness instrument. Medical Teacher. 2010;32:e133-e137. Spencer JA, Jordan RK. Learner centred approaches in medical education. British Medical Journal. 1999;318: Wood DF. ABC of learning and teaching in medicine: Problem based learning. British Medical Journal. 2003;326:

39 Select Resources: PBL University of Deleware (UG) sample cases & syllabi: PBL Clearinghouse (sample UG problems): https://primus.nss.udel.edu/Pbl/ https://primus.nss.udel.edu/Pbl/ ScienceNet links to PBL resources: _curr/pbl_links.cfm _curr/pbl_links.cfm Stanford University (HS/UG, sample problems in range of domains): o/PBL/skipintro.htm o/PBL/skipintro.htm Russek: PBL39

40 Selected Resources: PjBL Project-based learning: online.org/http://pbl- online.org/ Buck Institute for Education (BIE): Russek: PBL40

41 Select Resources: POGIL Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning: NSF National Center for Case Study Learning (large library of cases at all learning levels): Project Kaleidoscope: Russek: PBL41

42 Selected Resources: PLTL The Center for Peer-led Team Learning: City College of New York: sp/index.html sp/index.html Russek: PBL42

43 Questions? Russek: PBL43 Spencer & Jordan, 1999 Slides available electronically at:


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