Problem-Based Learning

What is Problem-Based Learning?

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is an educational approach where learning is driven by working through complex, real-world problems. Unlike traditional learning methods that start with theory and follow with application, PBL begins with the problem itself, pushing students to use existing knowledge and identify further information they need to solve it. This method encourages active engagement, self-directed learning, and the application of knowledge in practical, real-life situations. By grappling with real-world issues from the outset, students develop critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to find and utilize various resources for learning.

Why Should You Consider Problem-Based Learning?

There are many reasons that you could consider Problem-Based Learning. Here are a few of them:

Infographic created using PowerPoint; Source: Queens University, New York.

The rapid increase in accessible knowledge and the interdisciplinary nature of today's challenges necessitate graduates who are not only knowledgeable but also adept at lifelong learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving across various disciplines. PBL equips students with these essential skills by fostering an environment where they can develop transferable skills alongside discipline-specific knowledge. This approach aligns with the expectations of a university education, preparing students for the complexities of professional practice and enabling them to conceptualize and implement creative solutions.

How Can I Implement This Strategy?

You have learned about Problem-Based Learning and are ready to begin. Where do you start? 

To implement PBL, instructors should start by presenting students with a problem before teaching the relevant knowledge. This encourages students to engage with the problem using their existing knowledge and identify what more they need to learn. Instructors then transition to a facilitator role, guiding students as they independently seek out necessary information through self-directed study. This process involves identifying learning needs, researching, applying new knowledge to the problem, and self and peer assessment. It's crucial for instructors to provide initial knowledge prerequisites and scaffold learning for those new to PBL, ensuring students understand the PBL process and what is expected of them.

Problem-Based Learning Examples for each College:

College of Business
Marketing Campaign Development
Financial Analysis and Investment
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Project
College of Education
Curriculum Development for Diverse Learners
Classroom Management Strategy
Assessment and Evaluation
Educational Technology Integration
College of Arts & Sciences
Historical Research Presentation
Public Health Campaign
Environmental Science Project
Literary Analysis Project
Beacom College of Computer & Cyber Sciences
Software Development Project
Cybersecurity Challenge
Data Analysis and Visualization
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Solution Design
Network Design and Implementation


Resources for Further Learning

Want more information? Check out these resources for further learning:

For more recent insights and developments in Problem-Based Learning (PBL), you can explore the following resources. These materials reflect contemporary research, applications, and discussions surrounding PBL, offering updated perspectives and methodologies for educators interested in implementing or enhancing PBL in their curriculum.

  1. "Problem-Based Learning in the Health and Medical Professions Education" by Bridges, S., McGrath, C., & Whitehill, T.L. (2012). This book provides a comprehensive overview of PBL applications in health and medical education, discussing its impact on developing professional competencies.
  2. "A Practical Guide to Problem-Based Learning Online" by Savin-Baden, M. (2020). Recognizing the shift towards online education, this guide focuses on adapting PBL for online environments, offering strategies for engaging students and facilitating learning in virtual settings.
  3. "The Power of Problem-Based Learning" by Duch, B.J., Groh, S.E., & Allen, D.E. (Eds.) (2001). Although slightly older, this book remains relevant for its practical advice on designing and implementing PBL across various disciplines, with a focus on higher education.
  4. Journal of Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education. This peer-reviewed journal publishes research, theory, and practice about PBL in higher education, offering a wealth of recent articles and case studies.
  5. "Interdisciplinary Problem-Based Learning: An Alternative to Traditional Majors and Minors" by Kane, L. (2017). This article explores the use of PBL in fostering interdisciplinary education, arguing for its effectiveness in preparing students for complex real-world problems.

For the most current research and discussions, academic journals and conferences dedicated to educational methodologies and innovations are invaluable resources. Websites of educational institutions known for their PBL programs may also offer updated publications, case studies, and resources on PBL.

  • Journal of Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education:
  • "A Practical Guide to Problem-Based Learning Online" by Savin-Baden, M.: A Review is available for access through the Karl Mundt Library, EBSCOhost. Or you can look at the review here.


Article ID: 148255
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Mon 4/15/24 3:43 PM