Problem Based Learning (PBL) as a Pedagogical Approach
PBL is an instructional method that is a hands-on, active investigation and resolution of problems that might be found in the real world. It was originally founded in the 1960s at the Medical School at McMaster University. It emphasizes the approach of the teacher as facilitator, and is most often used in higher education. It has been adapted in numerous settings and is particularly prominent in the areas of business, dentistry, health sciences, law, engineering, education, and so on.
It is characterized by the following:
The process has been described in the following way:
“Rather than having a teacher provide facts and then testing students ability to recall these facts via memorization, PBL attempts to get students to apply knowledge to new situations.”
Problem based learning can help to:
(adapted from "Problem Based Learning," Learning Theories, http://www.learning-theories.com/problem-based-learning-pbl.html)
Problem Based Learning and Constructivism
In "The Process of Problem Based Learning: What Works and Why," Schmidt et al. frame PBL within a constructivism, by examining the pedagogical process, which is as follows:
There are numerous reasons that PBL is used. In the introduction to Problem Based Learning: A Research Perspective on Learning Interactions," Hmelo and Evensen point out that the current workplace of the 21st century requires professionals that have extensive knowledge, but who also know how to apply that knowledge and to problem solve, as well as function as part of a team. The very nature of PBL requires students to acquire these skills.
Benefits for students of project-based learning include the following:
PBL changes traditional approaches to education in the following ways:
Adapted from "Intel Education: PBL," http://www.schoolnet.org.za/conference/2011/Fiona_Beal/Handout-ProjectBasedLearning.pdf, 2004.
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