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Problem Based Learning

Problem Based Learning (PBL)


Is an educational strategy introduced at McMaster University, Canada in 1969. PBL education strategy is characterized by using patient's problem as a motive for student's learning, to acquire knowledge of basic and clinical sciences related to that problem and acquire problem solving skills

The PBL rationale


PBL is compatible with modern educational principles and approaches which will lead to the achievement of the following objectives: 1. Better acquisition and retrieval of Knowledge that is related to clinical context and integrate many disciplines. 2. Motivate the students, and provide responsibility of learning 3. Develop the ability of self learning 4. Adapt the learning needs of the students 5. Develop the clinical reasoning skills 6. Develop Interpersonal skills and the ability to work in team 7. Encourage the sensitivity to patients needs.

Factors determine the successful functioning of PBL


Prior knowledge: activation of the prior knowledge in the discussion is very important Student centeredness: Motivation of the students is increased when the learning is his/her responsibility. This will lead to application of the self determination for learning. Team work: the well functioning team will lead collaboratively to efficiency in all steps of PBL process.

Main problems in PBL groups


Quiet studentvery quiet, rarely contributes to discussion, shy; Lateness, absenteeism of students; Dominant student; Lack of commitment; Personality clash between students; Group engages in superficial study of the problem; Group shortcuts the tutorial process by combining sessions;

An example of a PBL problem from the University of Limburg at Maastricht

A 55-year-old woman lies crawling on the floor in obvious pain. The pain emerges in waves and extends from the right lumbar region to the right side of the groin and to the front of the right leg.

The seven step


PBL procedure with additional questions and guidelines. Step 1 Clarify the setting Do you understand words, terms and notions? Do you agree on what they mean? Step 2 Define the problem What are the problems? What are the sub-problems? Select the problems/sub-problems you will continue to work on! Step 3 Analyse/investigate the case Brainstorming has four basic rules (Goff 1998):
Criticism is ruled out Freewheeling is welcomed Quantity is desired Combination and improvement are sought

The seven step


Step 4 Restructure the problem Group related points Throw irrelevant points away Try to get a systematic overview of the problem Step 5 Formulate learning goals What do you need to learn before you can solve the case problems? Write down the learning goals (Where can you learn about it?) Step 6 Individual learning Each student study all the learning goals Step 7 Report back to the group What have you learnt?

The process of PBL


Scenario Identify cues Define the problem and generate hypothesis Identify what is unknown Search for answers and acquire knowledge about the unknown Apply what is known

Sessions
Objectives discussion ( Duration: 1 - 2 hours) Self study - Individual learning (Duration: Days) Second Session - Feedback - problem solving (Duration: 1 - 2 Hours) Third Session (Duration: 1 - 2 Hours)

First PBL Session Objectives


The duration of this session should be 1 2 hours, and the aim of this session is to discuss the problem based learning objectives. The aims of the first session include:
Stimulus to tackle a realistic problem. Challenge to use existing knowledge and experience. Practice of an analytical logical approach to problems. Practice gathering information in order to clarify the actual nature of the learning problem. Encouragement to identify what further knowledge/understanding is needed. This demonstrates active learning to answer ones own questions and help in development of effective lifelong learning skills. Practice of an analytical subdivision of the questions and synthesis of the answers. Learning how to learn for deep, rather than superficial learning.

Self Study
Following the first session student will have several days for individual Learning. Learning in order to manage the task as PBL provide opportunity for learning in the context in which it is to be used appropriately

Second PBL Session Objectives


The duration of this session should be 1 2 hours, the aim of this session is to share and discuss what students have learned individually in order to solve the problem. The objectives of this session are:
Active thinking more effective storage in long term memory. Misconceptions are corrected. Early feedback on result of learning. Learning how to inform others. Learning how to listen. Learning how to participate in discussion. Learning how to collaborate with colleagues. Application of new learning to the original problem.

Third Session (Resource)


The duration of this session should be 1 -2 hours, and the aim of this session is to create a discussion forum where the students can ask the expert questions concerning the PBL topic.

Third Session (Resource)


This session is intended to provide resources for student learning at the end of the PBL process to clarify any areas by expert staff. It is an opportunity for students to meet with one or more resource people for a defined educational purpose. Resource Sessions provide an opportunity for student staff interaction.

Different roles in tutorial groups


The tutorial group is one of the most important determinates of success of the PBL as an educational strategy it is usually 6 -8 members, but it can be more than this according to resources available. The group composed of group members, chairperson, scribe and the tutor. Each of the above mentioned has a definite role to play in order to have a successful tutorial group.

All group members should


Follow the steps of the process of PBL as it has been agreed upon; Participate effectively in the discussion; Listen to and respect contributions of others; Ask open questions to stimulate the discussion; Research all the learning objectives; Share information within the group.

Chairperson
Lead the group through the process; Encourage all members to participate in the discussion; Keep group dynamics; Time keeping; Ensure group keeps to task in hand; Ensure scribe can keep up and make an accurate record.

Scribe
Record points agreed upon by group members; Help group order their thoughts; Participate in discussion; Record resources to be used by group.

Tutor
Putting the problem in context and help prioritizing issues; Encourage all group members to participate; Assist chairman with group dynamics and keeping to time; Check scribe keeps an accurate record; Stimulate the use of audiovisuals; Prevent sidetracking; Ensure group achieves appropriate learning objectives; Check understanding; Assess performance; Feed back to students.