Teaching

Problem-Based Learning

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is commonly employed in disciplines that encourage flexible knowledge and skills in solving challenges. Rather than listen to lectures, students are presented with problems and given resources that could, when properly accessed and contexualized, be used to aid in solving the problem. It is important not to "spoon feed" the answers too readily; care must be taken to provide enough structure and assistance so that students do not become demoralized, but not so much that the task becomes rote or too easy.

PBL is frequently used in a group format, which also encourages cooperation and social interaction (two factors that often add to student motivation).

It can be challenging to adopt PBL in a classroom setting, where both faculty and students need to make adjustments in expectations and typical roles. Faculty become facilitators rather than knowledge experts, with the task more explicitly aimed at student learning that "teaching" (explaining) the content.

Best Practices from YouTube

The following YouTube videos contain some valuable, practical wisdom related to problem based learning: