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WHAT IS PBL? Frank Forsythe School of Economics & Politics University of Ulster Northern Ireland

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Presentation on theme: "WHAT IS PBL? Frank Forsythe School of Economics & Politics University of Ulster Northern Ireland"— Presentation transcript:

1 WHAT IS PBL? Frank Forsythe School of Economics & Politics University of Ulster Northern Ireland

2 CORE ELEMENTS TEACHER TASK ISSUE PROBLEM STUDENT GROUP

3 CORE ELEMENTS TEACHER TASK ISSUE PROBLEM STUDENT GROUP KICK-STARTS LEARNING PROCESS

4 CORE ELEMENTS TEACHER TASK ISSUE PROBLEM CONTAINING SOME UNKNOWN ELEMRNT STUDENT GROUP KICK-STARTS LEARNING PROCESS

5 CORE ELEMENTS TEACHER TASK ISSUE PROBLEM CONTAINING SOME UNKNOWN ELEMRNT STUDENT GROUP THE LEARNING ENGINE KICK-STARTS LEARNING PROCESS

6 CORE ELEMENTS TEACHER TASK ISSUE PROBLEM CONTAINING SOME UNKNOWN ELEMRNT STUDENT GROUP THE LEARNING ENGINE KICK-STARTS LEARNING PROCESS GROUP DYNAMICS

7 CORE ELEMENTS TEACHER TASK ISSUE PROBLEM CONTAINING SOME UNKNOWN ELEMRNT STUDENT GROUP THE LEARNING ENGINE KICK-STARTS LEARNING PROCESS GROUP RESPONSE

8 Relative to conventional lecture-based methods in which information is transferred from teacher to student, the research literature suggests that: PBL fosters a deeper approach to learning PBL promotes more versatile studying methods and PBL students are more likely to use the library and library resources to study PBL develops greater knowledge retention and recall skills PBL students tend to exhibit stronger knowledge application skills [according to Dochy et al. (2003), this is a very strong and robust result to emerge from the literature] From a teacher perspective, PBL appears to be a very satisfying method of teaching

9 When comparing the relative performance of two student cohorts studying introductory macroeconomics under conventional lecture- based and PBL methods, van den Bosch et al. (2004) also found that the PBL students exhibited better knowledge application skills than the conventionally taught cohort. According to these authors, PBL promotes a structuring and elaboration of knowledge that develops a more accessible knowledge base

10 In terms of the relative knowledge coverage acquired through PBL and conventional lecture-based teaching (as distinct from the application of knowledge to real-world situations), the literature suggests rather mixed results that appear to depend upon the scope of PBL implementation. Based on their literature review, which included only one non-medical research paper, Dochy et al. (2003) found that if the whole curriculum is PBL based, then it is likely that conventionally trained students will have covered, or have been introduced to, more knowledge and facts than PBL-trained students. This, of course, must be weighed against the possibility that conventionally trained students may be less able to retain and apply their wider knowledge base relative to PBL students. The possible differential in knowledge coverage between lecture- based and PBL teaching methods becomes negligible when PBL forms only part of the curriculum.

11 THE BENEFITS OF PBL (1) - developing core skills (via task design) research & independent learning skills Applying & evaluating abstract economic models to real-world situations & data decision-making & problem-solving

12 Relevance for employability

13 Employability " A degree alone is not enough. Employers are looking for more than just technical skills and knowledge of a degree discipline. They particularly value skills such as communication, team working and problem-solving. Job applicants who can demonstrate that they have developed these skills will have a real advantage. Digby Jones - Director-General, Confederation of British Industry. Forward to Prospects Directory 2004/5.

14 Skills that employers want People skills –Team working – supportive, organised, co-ordinator, deliverer –Interpersonal skills – listener, adviser, co-operative, assertive –Oral communication – communicator, presenter, influencer –Leadership – motivator, energetic, visionary –Customer orientation – friendly, caring, diplomatic –Foreign language – specific language skills General skills –Problem-solving – practical, logical, results orientated –Flexibility – versatile, willing, multi-skilled –Business acumen – entrepreneurial, competitive, risk taker –IT/computer literacy – office skills, keyboard skills, software packages –Numeracy – accurate, quick-thinker, methodical –Commitment – dedicated, trustworthy, conscientious Source:

15 I think this module has definitely enhanced my employment prospects. If I was to write about my experiences in other modules, which were all lectures, it is questionable if they have actually developed my skills. However, with this module I can say that I have improved in many aspects. My teamwork and leadership skills have certainly improved. In most jobs you are inevitably going to be part of a team. This module has certainly given me more confidence in a group situation. This module has also forced me to be organized, as I have to do the work or else I would be letting my group down. This has instilled good discipline which I hope would carry over to a job. Another aspect of this module was the presentations. I have done presentations before, but never as involved as those required for this module. At the same time I really enjoyed doing the presentations and was calm and relaxed. I have no doubt that I felt this way because I was comfortable being up with my group members with whom I have formed a bond. Hopefully I can carry over these benefits into employment. Year 1 student, Microeconomics, University of Ulster, 2007

16 Albanese, M. & Mitchell, S. (1993), "Problem-based learning: a review of literature on its outcomes and Implementation issues", Academic Medicine, 68, No.1, pp Bouhuijs, P. & Gijselaers, W. (1993), "Course construction in problem-based learning", in Bouhuijs, P & Schmidt, H. (1993), Problem-Based Learning as an Educational Strategy, Network Publications, Maastricht, ch. 5. Dochy, F., Segers, M., Van den Bossche, P., Gijbels, D. (2003), "Effects of problem- based learning: A meta-analysis, Learning and Instruction, 13, pp Eysenck, M. & Keane, M. (2010), Cognitive Psychology, Psychology Press, 6 th Ed., UK Forsythe, F. (2002), Problem-based learning, in Handbook for Economics Lecturers series, available at [Revised chapter with significant enhancements available June/July 2010] Van den Bossche, P., Segers, M., Gijbels, D., Dochy, F. (2004), "Effects of problem-based learning in business education: a comparison between a PBL and a conventional approach", in Ottewill, R et al (Eds), Educational Innovation in Economics and Business, Volume VIII, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp Vernon, D. & Blake, R. (1993), "Does problem-based learning work? A meta- analysis of evaluative research", Academic Medicine, 68, pp Albanese, M. & Mitchell, S. (1993), "Problem-based learning: a review of literature on its outcomes and Implementation issues", Academic Medicine, 68, No.1, pp Bouhuijs, P. & Gijselaers, W. (1993), "Course construction in problem-based learning", in Bouhuijs, P & Schmidt, H. (1993), Problem-Based Learning as an Educational Strategy, Network Publications, Maastricht, ch. 5. Dochy, F., Segers, M., Van den Bossche, P., Gijbels, D. (2003), "Effects of problem- based learning: A meta-analysis, Learning and Instruction, 13, pp Eysenck, M. & Keane, M. (2010), Cognitive Psychology, Psychology Press, 6 th Ed., UK Forsythe, F. (2002), Problem-based learning, in Handbook for Economics Lecturers series, available at [Revised chapter with significant enhancements available June/July 2010] Van den Bossche, P., Segers, M., Gijbels, D., Dochy, F. (2004), "Effects of problem-based learning in business education: a comparison between a PBL and a conventional approach", in Ottewill, R et al (Eds), Educational Innovation in Economics and Business, Volume VIII, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp Vernon, D. & Blake, R. (1993), "Does problem-based learning work? A meta- analysis of evaluative research", Academic Medicine, 68, pp

17 PBL at University of Ulster Frank Forsythe School of Economics & Politics University of Ulster Northern Ireland setting up (1).ppt

18 University of Ulster PBL v LECTURES on the Microeconomics I module, and In the academic year the microeconomics I class was split, with half the students following a PBL format, while the remaining half were taught using the traditional lecture-seminar format (TLS). The syllabus content and teacher were the same for both classes. All students sat the same end-of- year examination. In the academic year all students were taught by using the TLS format only. Again the syllabus content and teacher were the same over both academic years. Prior to all students were registered on the single honours BSc (Economics) programme (S); in students registered on the new BSc (Economics Major) programme (M) took the microeconomics module for the first time. One-third of each year on the economics major programme comprises a non-economics discipline. Failure Rate (% Exam) Median Mark (% Exam) Failure Rate (% Coursework) Attendance Rate (%) PBL Cohort TLS Cohort ** TLS (S) Cohort ** TLS (M) Cohort ** ** The attendance rate for those failing the examination was 50% for most TLS students.

19 Allocation of module time require independent learning skills quality …… contact hours must support learning 75% 25% Contact hours Non-contact hours

20 Issues 1. organisation of physical resources 2.organisation of teaching team 3.syllabus content 4.managing student groups 5.evidence of benefits required 6.the risks involved 7.where next?


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