back up his or her own point of view with documentary evidence is equally important in thatit allows all of the group members to benefit from each others’ findings.In Barrows’ model (see attached) students entering a medical course are divided intogroups of 5 and each group is assigned a facilitator. The students are then given a problemin the form of a case study containing particular symptoms. The students must diagnosethe problem and come up with a possible treatment.The students are unaware of what the problem is until they are presented with it. Theythen discuss the problem, formulate hypotheses based on their experience and knowledge,identify which elements are relevant in the problem and establish what the learningobjectives must be. These objectives are paramount to each of the aspects that aredeemed relevant in solving the problem that the group feels they do not understand as wellas they should. A training session is not considered complete until each student has beengiven the opportunity to reflect upon his or her initial opinions regarding the diagnosis andtake responsibility for the particular learning objectives which had been established. Thereare no pre-defined objectives; the objectives are established by the students based on theiranalysis of the problem. After the training session, the students undertake a self-studysession. There are no assigned textbooks and, although the Department designates specialtutors the students can turn to and consult should they wish to do so, the students arecompletely autonomous and free to choose the information they are looking for on theirown.
Problem Based Learning,
therefore, calls into play all of the didactic strategies that arecentered on the student and are based upon the guided solution of real problems, whichfalls well within the problem-solving approach. In an e-learning environment, the processcan be divided into different phases that are accompanied by the specific support of a tutor.Formulating the problem is the first of these phases. Here, the tutor must present theparticipants with a problematic situation and offer them the type of information that willallow them to identify and define the problem. In fact, this first step requires that thestudents examine the problem on the basis of the information available so they can draftsome possible solutions by using, for example, an apposite web forum or chat line.Afterwards, each participant can gather the appropriate information individually by furtherexamining any available resources, comparing similar cases and, of course, turning to thesupport of a tutor who will continue to be available for consultation. The problem is then re-read based on the information that has been gathered. The hypotheses that were