Problem based learning basics
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Problem based learning basics

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This is a slightly-edited version of an online presentation prepared for a class on Motivating 21st Century Learning, in which I give a basic overview of what Problem-based Learning is, and how it can ...

This is a slightly-edited version of an online presentation prepared for a class on Motivating 21st Century Learning, in which I give a basic overview of what Problem-based Learning is, and how it can be used--particularly in a library classroom environment.

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  • Hello, my name is Kate Gukeisen. Welcome to my Problem Based Learning presentation. You can follow along with this presentation in two ways. You can read the text narration in the notes field of Powerpoint, or you can watch the presentation as a slide show and click the speaker icon at the top right of the first slide to hear my voice.
  • Problem Based Learning really is just what its name implies…allowing students to learn through solving real-world problems. It is an approach to learning that is not only student-centered, but student-led. Today, I will present the concept of Problem Based Learning and some resources, techniques, and tools that will aid you in planning, implementing, and assessing problem based learning scenarios. It may also help to define Problem Based Learning in relation to its close cousins, Project Based Learning and Inquiry Learning. Project Based Learning focuses on developing a product or creation. The project may or may not be student-centered, problem-based, or inquiry-based.Inquiry Based Learning is a student-centered, active learning approach that focuses on questioning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Problem Based Learning is an approach that focuses on the process of solving a problem and acquiring knowledge. The final product of a problem based learning experience may be a project, but it doesn’t have to be. The PBL approach is also inquiry-based when students are active in defining the problem and the conditions under which they will solve it. Let’s start our investigation of PBL by exploring its components.
  • Problem Based Learning really is just what its name implies…allowing students to learn through solving real-world problems. It is an approach to learning that is not only student-centered, but student-led. Today, I will present the concept of Problem Based Learning and some resources, techniques, and tools that will aid you in planning, implementing, and assessing problem based learning scenarios. It may also help to define Problem Based Learning in relation to its close cousins, Project Based Learning and Inquiry Learning. Project Based Learning focuses on developing a product or creation. The project may or may not be student-centered, problem-based, or inquiry-based.Inquiry Based Learning is a student-centered, active learning approach that focuses on questioning, critical thinking, and problem-solving. Problem Based Learning is an approach that focuses on the process of solving a problem and acquiring knowledge. The final product of a problem based learning experience may be a project, but it doesn’t have to be. The PBL approach is also inquiry-based when students are active in defining the problem and the conditions under which they will solve it. Let’s start our investigation of PBL by exploring its components.
  • The most important component of any learning is the learner. In a Problem Based Learning Scenario, students do not just act as problem solvers, they are problem solvers. They are presented with a problem that they define, establish the context for solving, break into component parts if they chose, and pursue their own research and reflection to produce solutions.
  • As you can imagine, “the problem” presented to students is also an important component of Problem Based Learning. Students need to be presented with a special kind of problem that is meaningful to them in the real world and does not have an easy answer. This is known as an ill-structured problem. Seeking an answer to the problem should require students to reach across the curriculum and to think critically. In fact, the way in which students chose to approach, research, and solve the problem will serve as their curricular organizer. In a few slides, we’ll brainstorm a few of these ill-structured problems for better understanding, for now let’s continue to the next component of PBL.
  • As teacher librarians, we sometimes get nervous about student-led learning because we aren’t sure how it should look in our curriculum planning. PBL is the experience of problem solving, and not coming up with one correct solution for a controlled and manufactured problem. For this reason, when you plan a PBL experience, focus on the curriculum as the process students’ engage in—the process of building on previous knowledge, conducting research and engaging in constructive criticism, and collaborating to build new knowledge that crosses content areas.
  • I’ve place the teacher librarian as the last component of PBL on purpose. Please think of this librarian action figure as raising a coaches whistle to her lips instead of a “shushing finger.” In PBL, the teacher librarian is a coach, a mentor, facilitator and a model—not a traditional instructor. As a cognitive coach, you will model enthusiasm, effective learning, research, and feedback strategies, and an interest in open inquiry. Coaching and modeling will be more involved and active with younger students or students who are new to the problem solving process. And you can incorporate mini-lessons that enhance your students’ research depending on their previous experience and knowledge. Your goal in in PBL is to present an ill-structured problem for students, and provide them with the modeling and support they need to let them lead the show.
  • Now that we’ve covered the components of problem based learning, that original definition should make more sense. Problem Based Learning is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving a real-world problem. Let talk about the process through which that happens.
  • We’ve covered some of the process of Problem Based Learning in talking about its components, but lets walk through the process together now. The process starts when…The Cognitive Coach presents students with an ill-structured, real-world problem. The students will chose a group moderator and/or scribe.The students define the problem, break it into component parts if they need to, brainstorm ideas based on prior knowledge, then collaborate to decide on the method and criteria they will use to solve the problem. The students or cognitive coach will discuss a schedule for individual research and collaborative meetings. Depending on the educational setting this may be set by the coach or decided on by the students.The students engage in independent study across content areas, building on previous knowledge. Which aspects of the problem each student investigates will have been determined by the students approach to solving the problem.The students reconvene to share information, and to engage in peer teaching, collaboration, and constructive criticism. These are skills the coach can model for students. The students work toward a solution and may repeat independent study and return to this step.The students come to consensus, present their solution in an appropriate real-world manner, and review what they have learned. The product students have as a result of their PBL experience may or may not be a traditional project.The students engage in self reflection, peer review, and coach review of the problem solving process.
  • As I mentioned earlier, choosing a real-world, ill-structured problem is the basis for a successful PBL experience for you and your students. I have pulled two scenarios from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy’s Problem Based Learning Network to illustrate problems that can be chosen for our youngest elementary and oldest secondary students. These examples also illustrate the variety of subjects that are incorporated into solving one problem.In the first example a Kindergarten teacher coaches students to notice that invasive insects are eating the leaves off plants in the school’s garden, investigate and determine appropriate actions to rejuvenate the garden so that all plants are healthy and beneficial insects thrive. Students learn simple food chains, plant structures and life cycles.In the second example, The Art League has asked 12th grade fine arts students to design a logo and a brand for the upcoming community art show. In this scenario, the students will need to incorporate the principles of good design with the basics of marketing strategies as they consider the medium and costs of the promotion.
  • During the last slide, I shared two PBL scenarios with you. For our activity, please visit the PBLNetwork site at the link provided on the slide. Scroll through the scenarios listed to gain a better understanding of the problems best-suited for a PBL scenario. Please browse through these examples and then brainstorm your own ill-structured problem on which you could build a problem based learning scenario. For this activity, you need not worry about actually formulating the scenario, you should just be thinking about the types of problems appropriate to PBL.Please share your ill-structured problem, and the associated age group, in this discussion thread.
  • PBL is a constructivist approach to learning. Given the components and process of PBL, the standards, indicators and benchmarks chosen to connect with a PBL experience will focus on critical thinking and problem solving. On this slide, you will see three standards which directly correlate to PBL scenarios. I’ll give you an example from the first standard on the slide of an indicator and two supporting benchmarks that could be chosen.For AASL Standard 1: Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge.A PBL learning scenario would support AASL Indicator 1.1.3: Develop and refine a range of questions to frame the search for new understanding.The benchmarks used to define the success of meeting this indicator could be to:Explore problems or questions for which there are multiple answers or no “best” answer.Review the initial information needed to clarify, revise, or refine the question.
  • Choosing assessment tools for PBL experiences is a matter of keeping “authentic assessment” in mind. The types of tools best suited to offering realistic assessment that demonstrates students’ mastery of the problem solving process and their use of knowledge in multiple ways across a variety of subjects include: self-reflection logs, peer reflection and debriefing, task completion reports and other methods of process assessment, as well as portfolio and presentation assessment rubrics, checklists, and organizers. As with all learning, it is important to offer opportunities for timely and effective constructive feedback throughout the PBL process. While the coach will model ways in which to give feedback, the emphasis throughout a PBL scenario should be on self- and peer-assessment to build further knowledge and understanding.
  • Like any other method, it is important to look critically at the limitations of PBL. The biggest concerns with problem based learning center around the resources necessary to plan and implement cross-curricular learning experiences that do not produce traditional assessment results. Another concern that educators often initially have is the loss of control they feel when they step out of the instructor role and into the role of coach, mentor, or facilitator. If you can’t find a collaborative partner or just aren’t ready yet to fully implement PBL, think about ways you can include real world problem solving scenarios into your current lessons and units.
  • We have covered a number of components, ideas, and elements that will help you successfully implement and assess PBL in your learning environment. Let’s review a few of top tips from what we’ve talked about. Present a well-designed, ill-structured problemSchedule (or encourage students to schedule) their independent research time, as well as their collaborative timePlan frequent opportunities for self-assessment, peer feedback, and coach reviewAs the coach, be prepared to model inquiry and critical thinking skills to your students as they navigate the problem solving processAnd, ensure relevance by choosing a real world problem and real world presentation format for their solution.
  • We’ve cover a lot of ground over the last ten or fifteen minutes, but there is still so much more to learn! I have included a number of additional resources on the next slide for you to explore. If you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you.
  • I have presented the references above as a resource list and cleaned up the links for easier access to the material. More traditional citations and the original URLs are below:ReferencesDavis, L. (July 18, 2012). 6 Easy Steps for Designing Problem-Based Learning Assignments. Eye on Education. Retrieved from http://www.eyeoneducation.com/Blog/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/1916/6-Easy-Steps-for-Designing-Problem-Based-Learning-Assignments#.UWW8GL-TpoaDavis, L. (February 4, 2013). White Paper: Project-Based vs. Problem-Based Learning: Which is Better for the Common Core? Eye on Education. Retrieved from http://www.eyeoneducation.com/Blog/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/2774/White-Paper-Project-Based-vs-Problem-Based-Learning-Which-Is-Better-for-the-Common-Core#.UWW6-b-TpoaHmelo-Silver, C. E. (2004). Problem-based learning: what and how do students learn? Educational Psychology Review 16 (3): 235-266.doi: 10.1023/B:EDPR.0000034022.16470.F3Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (2011). PBLNetwork: Collaborative Inquiry in Action. Retrieved from http://pbln.imsa.edu/model/intro/index.htmlProblem Based Learning—Creating a Driving Question [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=12968Ward, J. D. & Lee, C. L. (2002). A review of problem-based learning. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education 20 (1): 16-26. Retrieved February 20, 2013 from http://www.natefacs.org/JFCSE/v20no1/v20no1Ward.pdf.

Problem based learning basics Problem based learning basics Presentation Transcript

  • So… What is Problem Based Learning? Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of problem solving.
  • OK… can you simplify that definition? Problem-based Learning really is just what its name implies…allowing students to learn through solving real- world problems. Let’s look at the four essential components of PBL.
  • Component 1: The Student is the problem solver Student as Problem Solver • Defines problems and conditions for resolution • Establishes a context for learning • Pursues meaning and understanding • Becomes a self-directed learner
  • Component 2: The Problem is real-world and ill-structured Problem as Curricular Organizer • Highlights need for inquiry • Attracts and sustains student interest • Connects school learning and the real world • Enables meaningful learning
  • Component 3: The Curriculum is engaging on multiple levels Curriculum as Experience • Fosters Active Learning • Supports Knowledge Construction • Integrates Content Areas • Provides Relevance
  • Component 4: The Teacher Librarian is the cognitive coach Librarian as Cognitive Coach • Models Interest • Coaches Thinking • Presents Effective Learning Strategies • Nurtures Environment of Open Inquiry
  • The components of PBL Inform the Process
  • Present Problem Students define the problem and brainstorm ideas based on prior knowledge. Students engage in independent study. Students share information, engage in peer teaching, and work toward a solution. Students present their solution and review what they have learned. Students engage in self, peer, and coach review of the process. PBL Process
  • Choosing Ill-Structured Problems Two Examples Kindergarten Invasive insects are eating the leaves off plants in the school garden, investigate and determine appropriate actions to rejuvenate the garden so that all plants are healthy and beneficial insects thrive. 12th Grade Design a logo and a brand for the upcoming community art show. Incorporate what you know about good design into your marketing and promotion plan.
  • Below is the link to the website PBLNetwork: Collaborative Inquiry in Action. http://pbln.imsa.edu/model/scenarios/ On this web page, you will find a number of examples of problem based learning scenarios that can be used with learners of all ages, from primary through adult.
  • Sample Standards Problem-based Learning supports a variety of standards related to critical thinking and problem solving. For AASL Standard 1: Inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge. A PBL learning scenario would support: AASL Indicator 1.1.3: Develop and refine a range of questions to frame the search for new understanding. The benchmarks used to define the success of meeting this indicator could be to: Explore problems or questions for which there are multiple answers or no “best” answer. Review the initial information needed to clarify, revise, or refine the question.
  • Think “authentic assessment” • Self-reflection • Peer-reflection • Process Assessment • Portfolio Assessment • Presentation Assessment • Effective Constructive Feedback Assessing The Problem Based Learning Process
  • Problem Based Learning is not right all the time… …even if you can’t incorporate 100% PBL, think about ways you can present your students with real world problems to solve.
  • What You Need to Implement Problem Based Learning Scheduled Independent Study Time Frequent Opportunities for Feedback Well Designed, Ill-Structured Problem Ability to Model Process Skills Focus on Real World
  • Problem Based Learning Resources Problem Based Learning Network: Collaborative Inquiry in Action http://pbln.imsa.edu/model/intro/index.html This site from the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy provides a number of pages describing PBL, its planning, implementation and assessment. The site also provides a number of links to PBL resource. Eye on Education http://tinyurl.com/cbwna5z Blog Post “White Paper: Project-Based vs. Problem-Based Learning: Which is Better for the Common Core?” And http://tinyurl.com/c6mgfhn Blog Post “6 Easy Steps for Designing Problem-Based Learning Assignments” TeacherTube http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=12968 This video, “Problem Based Learning—Creating a Driving Question,” is just under ten minutes and presents specific strategies for creating a good “driving question” as the basis of a Problem Based Learning scenario. The following articles also proved useful to understanding PBL in the classroom. Hmelo-Silver, C. E. (2004). Problem-based learning: what and how do students learn? Educational Psychology Review 16 (3): 235-266. doi: 10.1023/B:EDPR.0000034022.16470.F3 Ward, J. D. & Lee, C. L. (2002). A review of problem-based learning. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences Education 20 (1): 16-26. Retrieved February 20, 2013 from http://www.natefacs.org/JFCSE/v20no1/v20no1Ward.pdf.