WesternU E-Learning

Online Training for Faculty and Staff

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem found in trigger material. The PBL process does not focus on problem solving with a defined solution, but it allows for the development of other desirable skills and attributes. This includes knowledge acquisition, enhanced group collaboration and communication. The PBL process was developed for medical education and has since been broadened in applications for other programs of learning. The process allows for learners to develop skills used for their future practice. It enhances critical appraisal, literature retrieval and encourages ongoing learning within a team environment.

The PBL tutorial process involves working in small groups of learners. Each student takes on a role within the group that may be formal or informal and the role often alternates. It is focused on the student’s reflection and reasoning to construct their own learning. In short, it is identifying what they already know, what they need to know, and how and where to access new information that may lead to the resolution of the problem. The role of the instructor is to facilitate the learning by supporting, guiding, and monitoring the learning process.

PBL represents a paradigm shift from traditional teaching and learning philosophy, which is more often lecture-based. The constructs for teaching PBL are very different from traditional classroom or lecture teaching and often requires more preparation time and resources to support small group learning. (Wikipedia)