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Problem Based Learning: What It Is and How to Use It

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March. 2005 …

March. 2005

Presentation for a task in the "Learning" course; a third-year undergraduate cognitive psychology course. The assignment was to pretend we were sent to a university somewhere that did not use Problem-Based Learning and present it to them.

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  • Good morning and thank you for inviting me to your educational institution! My name is Brian Pagán, I am a student at the Universiteit Maastricht, and I would like to discuss Problem-Based Learning, or PBL, today. <Click> (Note for Margje: The notes are written exactly as the presentation would be given, so the use of contractions and informal language is used intentionally to make the speaker and the audience more comfortable with the material and each other.)
  • These are the topics we shall cover this morning: First, I will briefly introduce PBL, so that everyone has an idea of what this presentation is all about. Then, I will outline constructivist learning theory, upon which PBL is indirectly based. After that, I’ll point out the main differences between traditional educational systems and PBL. Adding to my short intro, I will then describe PBL in more detail, handling PBL’s direct theoretical background and explaining the system itself. Then, I’ll summarize the presentation I’ll display my references on the last slide. (The self assessment report is not part of the presentation, but it is included at the very end.) <Click>
  • So, to begin, here is a short introduction to PBL PBL is a pervasive educational system, which integrated into all aspects of the educational process, lesson plans, teaching structures, assessment, etc. With PBL, students work together to solve problems and achieve common learning goals. PBL is based on constructivist learning principles. As such, it: Is student-centered, rather than instructor-centered, Emphasizes active student participation, Give students the opportunity to activate and apply their prior knowledge in a systematic way. PBL’s largest advantage is that it takes full advantage of student collaboration and Socratic discussion. (Schmidt, 1983; Schmidt & Moust, 1999; Til & Heijden, 2000) <Click>
  • Constructivism’s main idea is that people learn by: constructing new ideas and concepts by comparing and interpreting them based on previous knowledge Attributing meaning to new ideas an active process of examining, coding, decoding, and interpreting new concepts and ideas selecting and transforming information, constructing “hypotheses,” and utilizing cognitive structures to build mental models, also known as schemas. The way this process is carried out is different for each learner, because previous experience differs between individuals. (Hein, 1991; Kever, 2003; Mos, 2003) <Click>
  • Constructivism emphasizes four main aspects of the learning process: Recognizing students’ predisposition towards learning Structuring knowledge to be most readily and efficiently understood learners Sequencing material presentation in the most effective way Correctly applying the right kinds of motivational rewards and punishments Constructivist learning is only effective when it stimulates: Learners to discover learning objectives and problem-solving strategies on their own Learners and instructors to engage in stimulating active dialog (Dolmans, Wolfhagen, & Vleuten, 1998; Mos, 2003; Schmidt, 1993) Any questions so far? <Click>
  • Since we have seen the aspects of constructivism, which are relevant for PBL, let’s explore the main differences between it and traditional educational systems. To explore these differences systematically, it is best to concentrate on the three most important aspects of educational design, which all designers face: Choosing and stimulating effective teaching, learning, and assessment methods Developing a learning environment, which stimulates learners Effectively integrating learners’ prior knowledge into various course elements. (Bines, 1992a) We’ll now contrast traditional educational design and PBL by the way they address these three issues.
  • The first contrast issue is teaching, learning, and assessment methodology. Traditional curricula employ methods which reflect: The goal of knowledge transfer. An instructor presents information, and students receive it. Emphasis on information reproduction. The information transfer process encourages students to memorize by rote. Content-first approach. Curricula are designed with specific learning materials in mind, and learning objectives are rigid, usually remaining unchanged for long periods of time. Teaching and learning is done in lecture halls or in classrooms. Problem-based learning employs methods which reflect: The goal of stimulating active learning. Instructors act as guides to stimulate students to learn on their own, actively discuss, and construct new knowledge Emphasis on information comprehension. Through problem solving and active discussion, students must learn to understand concepts and how to generalize their application Student-first approach. Learners create their own learning objectives (under the instructor’s guidance), and the curricular content constantly changes, while critical concepts remain Learning is done is tutorial groups. (Aulls, 2002; Bines, 1992a, 1992b; Boekaerts, 1996; Echevarria, 2003; Schuh, 2003; Skaalid, 2003) <Click>
  • Here is an overview of the differences between traditional and PBL learning environments Traditional learning environments: Are instructor-centered. One instructor lectures to many students, usually between 30 and 300 Are formal. Instructors discourage unnecessary contact with students and remain aloof. Emphasize one-way information flow. The instructor speaks, and learners listen. Feedback from learners is generally discouraged. PBL learning environments: Are student-centered. Students participate actively and instructors act only as guides. Are informal. Students are encouraged to openly discuss with instructors and contact them when needed. Emphasize multi-directional information flow. Students discuss with each other and share information. (Aulls, 2002; Bines, 1992b; Boekaerts, 1996; Schuh, 2003) <Click>
  • Here are the differences between traditional and PBL integration of student’s prior knowledge Traditional systems usually only have a prerequisite system in place, where students are blocked from taking certain courses until they have completed other, previous courses. PBL uses the prerequisite system as well, but due to its emphasis on knowledge construction, prior knowledge takes center stage in PBL learning. (Bines, 1992b; Mclnerney, Mclnerney, & Marsh, 1997) <Click>
  • Now that we have covered the differences between traditional and PBL education systems, let’s explore PBL in some more depth. We will cover the topics: The seven-step approach Theoretical justification of each step Student and instructor roles
  • The PBL process follows seven main steps: Clarifying concepts- Recognizing and explaining unclear concepts in a task’s text Defining the problem Concisely forming a problem statement to establish the boundaries of the topic Analyzing the problem Brainstorming about the problem Activating prior knowledge Stimulating active discussion Forming hypotheses Systematically classifying the problem Creating links between concepts Facilitating construction of neural networks Formulating learning objectives Identify knowledge, which is still needed to solve the problem Stimulate structured self study Self study Gathering information freely Encourages self-regulation Reporting Stimulates active discussions about learned information Gives students the opportunity to criticize and test new knowledge Solidifies construction upon prior knowledge Facilitates generalization of information application Apart from the seven steps is evaluation, which helps a group identify its strengths and weaknesses, in order to constantly improve the effectiveness of the group discussions. (M. Boekaerts, 1997; McClure, Sonak, & Suen, 1999; Mos, 2003; Schmidt, 1983, 1993; Til & Heijden, 2000) <Click>
  • So, to summarize this presentation, The constructivist learning paradigm emphasizes student activity and discussion as cornerstones of effective learning and knowledge construction Traditional education systems do not provide students with the necessary tool for effective knowledge construction Problem-based learning is: Student-centered. It concentrates on active participation by learners Emphasizes prior knowledge. PBL relies on learner’s constructing knowledge upon their existing knowledge and building networks and schemas Uses the seven step process, each step of which has a theoretical foundation in constructivist learning theory Integrates evaluation is a powerful way to ensure that it always stays as effective as possible Give learners the power to control their learning process PBL emphasizes students’ learning and is more effective, according to the constructivist learning paradigm.
  • References: Aulls, M. W. (2002). The Contributions of Co-Occurring Forms of Classroom Discourse and Academic Activities to Curriculum Events and Instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94 (3), 520–538. Bines, H. (1992a). Course Delivery and Assessment. In Developing Professional Education (pp. 57-92). Oxford: SRHE and Open University Press. Bines, H. (1992b). Issues in Course Design. In Developing Professional Education (pp. 11-56). Oxford: SRHE and Open University Press. Boekaerts, M. (1996). Self-regulated Learning at the Junction of Cognition and Motivation. European Psychologist, 1 (2), 100-112. Boekaerts, M. (1997). Self-regulated learning: A new concept embraced by researchers, policy makers, educators, teachers, and students. Learning and Instruction, 7 (2), 161-186. Dolmans, D. H. J. M., Wolfhagen, I. H. A. P., & Vleuten, C. P. M. v. d. (1998). Motivational and cognitive processes influencing tutorial groups. Academic Medicine, 73 (Supplement 10), S22-S24. Echevarria, M. (2003). Anomalies as a Catalyst for Middle School Students’ Knowledge: Construction and Scientific Reasoning During Science Inquiry. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95 (2), 357-374. Hein, G. E. (1991, 15-22 October). Constructivist Learning Theory. Paper presented at the CECA (International Committee of Museum Educators) Conference, Jerusalem Israel. Kever, S. (2003, Mon Mar 3 6:59:24 US/Pacific 2003). Constructivist Classroom: An Internet Hotlist on Constructivist Class . Retrieved 22 January, 2004, from http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/pages/listconstrucsa1.html McClure, J. R., Sonak, B., & Suen, H. K. (1999). Concept map assessment of classroom learning: reliability, validity, and logistical practicality. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36 (4), 475-492. Mclnerney, V., Mclnerney, D. M., & Marsh, H. W. (1997). Effects of Metacognitive Strategy Training Within a Cooperative Group Learning Context on Computer Achievement and Anxiety: An Aptitude-Treatment Interaction Study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89 (4), 686-695. Mos, L. (2003). Jerome Bruner: Language, Culture, Self. Canadian Psychology, 44 (1), 77-83. Schmidt, H. G. (1983). Problem Based Learning: Rationale and Description. Medical Education, 17 , 11-16. Schmidt, H. G. (1993). Foundations of problem-based learning: some explanatory notes. Medical Education, 27 (5), 422-432. Schmidt, H. G., & Moust, J. H. C. (1999). A taxonomy of problems used in problem-based curricula. In J. v. Merriënboer & G. v. Moerkerke (Eds.), Instructional design for problem-based learning: Proceedings of the third workshop of the EARLI SIG instructional design (pp. 3-12). Maastricht: Datawyse. Schuh, K. L. (2003). Knowledge Construction in the Learner-Centered Classroom. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95 (2), 426-442. Skaalid, B. (2003). Application of Constructivist Principles to the Practice of Instructional Technology . Retrieved January 28, 2004, from http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/Skaalid/application.html Til, C. v., & Heijden, F. v. d. (2000). PBL Study Skills: an overview . Maastricht: Universiteit Maastricht.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Problem Based Learning: What It Is and How to Use It Brian Pagán i190330 Margje v/d Wiel Faculty of Psychology, Universiteit Maastricht March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning
    • 2. Overview
      • Short intro to PBL
      • Constructivist learning theory
      • Traditional design vs. PBL
      • More PBL
      • Conclusion
      • References
      • ( Self-assessment report )
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning
    • 3. 1. PBL: Short Intro
      • Solving problems together
      • Education system
      • Uses Constructivist principles
        • Student-centered
        • Active participation
        • Prior knowledge
      • Student collaboration
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning
    • 4. 2. Constructivist Learning Theory
      • People learn by:
        • “ Constructing” upon previous knowledge
        • Giving meaning to new ideas
        • Active coding and decoding
        • Building schemas
      • Different between learners
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning
    • 5. 2. Constructivist Learning Theory
      • Main aspects of learning process:
        • Students’ learning predisposition
        • Structuring knowledge for the learner
        • Effective sequencing of material presentation
        • Type and application of rewards/punishments
      • Critical factors:
        • Self discovery
        • Active dialog
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning
    • 6. 3. Traditional design vs. PBL
      • Three main (general) issues:
        • Teaching, learning, and assessment methods
        • Learning environment
        • Integrating students’ prior knowledge
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning
    • 7. 3.a. Teaching, learning, and assessment methods
      • Traditional
      • Goal: knowledge transfer
      • Information reproduction
      • Content-first approach
      • Lectures or classroom teaching
      • PBL
      • Goal: stimulate active learning
      • Information comprehension
      • Student-first approach
      • Tutorial groups
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning
    • 8. March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning 3.b. Learning environment
      • Traditional
      • Instructor-centered
      • Formal
      • One-way information flow
      • PBL
      • Student-centered
      • Informal
      • Multi-directional information flow
    • 9. March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning 3.c. Integrating students’ prior knowledge
      • Traditional
      • System of prerequisites
      • PBL
      • System of prerequisites
      • Prior knowledge takes center stage
    • 10. 4. More PBL
      • The seven-step approach
      • Theoretical justification of each step
      • Student and instructor roles
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning
    • 11. 4. More PBL- 7 Step Approach
      • Tutorial Group
      • Clarify concepts
      • Define the problem
      • Analyze the problem
      • Classify the problem
      • Formulate learning objectives
      • Self study
      • Reporting
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning Evaluation
    • 12. 5. Conclusion
      • Constructivist learning paradigm
      • Traditional education systems don’t do it
      • PBL is:
        • Student-centered
        • Emphasizes prior knowledge
        • Uses the seven step process
        • Constantly improves through evaluation
        • Puts the power of learning in learners’ hands
      • PBL does it!
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning
    • 13. 6. References
      • Aulls, M. W. (2002). The Contributions of Co-Occurring Forms of Classroom Discourse and Academic Activities to Curriculum Events and Instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94 (3), 520–538.
      • Bines, H. (1992a). Course Delivery and Assessment. In Developing Professional Education (pp. 57-92). Oxford: SRHE and Open University Press.
      • Bines, H. (1992b). Issues in Course Design. In Developing Professional Education (pp. 11-56). Oxford: SRHE and Open University Press.
      • Boekaerts, M. (1996). Self-regulated Learning at the Junction of Cognition and Motivation. European Psychologist, 1 (2), 100-112.
      • Boekaerts, M. (1997). Self-regulated learning: A new concept embraced by researchers, policy makers, educators, teachers, and students. Learning and Instruction, 7 (2), 161-186.
      • Dolmans, D. H. J. M., Wolfhagen, I. H. A. P., & Vleuten, C. P. M. v. d. (1998). Motivational and cognitive processes influencing tutorial groups. Academic Medicine, 73 (Supplement 10), S22-S24.
      • Echevarria, M. (2003). Anomalies as a Catalyst for Middle School Students’ Knowledge: Construction and Scientific Reasoning During Science Inquiry. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95 (2), 357-374.
      • Hein, G. E. (1991, 15-22 October). Constructivist Learning Theory. Paper presented at the CECA (International Committee of Museum Educators) Conference, Jerusalem Israel.
      • Kever, S. (2003, Mon Mar 3 6:59:24 US/Pacific 2003). Constructivist Classroom: An Internet Hotlist on Constructivist Class . Retrieved 22 January, 2004, from http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/fil/pages/listconstrucsa1.html
      • McClure, J. R., Sonak, B., & Suen, H. K. (1999). Concept map assessment of classroom learning: reliability, validity, and logistical practicality. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36 (4), 475-492.
      • Mclnerney, V., Mclnerney, D. M., & Marsh, H. W. (1997). Effects of Metacognitive Strategy Training Within a Cooperative Group Learning Context on Computer Achievement and Anxiety: An Aptitude-Treatment Interaction Study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89 (4), 686-695.
      • Mos, L. (2003). Jerome Bruner: Language, Culture, Self. Canadian Psychology, 44 (1), 77-83.
      • Schmidt, H. G. (1983). Problem Based Learning: Rationale and Description. Medical Education, 17 , 11-16.
      • Schmidt, H. G. (1993). Foundations of problem-based learning: some explanatory notes. Medical Education, 27 (5), 422-432.
      • Schmidt, H. G., & Moust, J. H. C. (1999). A taxonomy of problems used in problem-based curricula. In J. v. Merriënboer & G. v. Moerkerke (Eds.), Instructional design for problem-based learning: Proceedings of the third workshop of the EARLI SIG instructional design (pp. 3-12). Maastricht: Datawyse.
      • Schuh, K. L. (2003). Knowledge Construction in the Learner-Centered Classroom. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95 (2), 426-442.
      • Skaalid, B. (2003). Application of Constructivist Principles to the Practice of Instructional Technology . Retrieved January 28, 2004, from http://www.usask.ca/education/coursework/802papers/Skaalid/application.html
      • Til, C. v., & Heijden, F. v. d. (2000). PBL Study Skills: an overview . Maastricht: Universiteit Maastricht.
      March 24, 2005 Elective 3.4 Learning