Problem Based Learning - PBL, an introduction


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An introduction to using problem based learning in classrooms.

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Problem Based Learning - PBL, an introduction

  2. 2. History What is PBL? – Instructional Strategy – Similar to the Socratic Method – Used extensively in medical schools as a curriculum design. – Howard S. Barrows is a PBL pioneer – U of Delaware is a center of PBL use and research.
  3. 3. Essentials What it is not… – Not an “Alternative to teaching” – Not a quick substitute for lecturing – Not easy to adopt (as a curriculum) • Scenario creation & refinement • Teacher training • Student training
  4. 4. Essentials How does it work? – Relies on small groups working with a facilitator. – Relies heavily on scenarios to guide the learning process through sections. – Forces the student to take responsibility for their learning.
  5. 5. Essentials Why instructors use it – Acquisition of an extensive integrated knowledge base. – Real world examples. – Move beyond cram & regurgitate model – Great way to teach people how to acquire large amounts of information in a short period of time for rapidly changing fields. – It is often the “unplanned” method of instruction in work/project situations.
  6. 6. Process Class needs to be broken into small groups (4-8 people). – Groups work together extensively Each group needs a moderator. – Guides group through process – Trains group to work together The facilitator (teacher) guides without giving away or hiding answers.
  7. 7. Process Each group gets a scenario-based problem set. – Each problem set contains scenarios that build on each other. – Problems/scenarios are vehicles for the development of clinical problem solving skills
  8. 8. Process The group first identifies the following five components: – The facts that are known – Facts that need to be known and questions that need to be asked – A possible hypothesis – What needs to be learned or researched – Where the group members will go to gain the necessary information
  9. 9. Process Once the 5 categories are addressed: – Group researches necessary issues – Returns later to to present their findings – Receives a new scenario that builds upon the previous one(s) – Group begins the process again with the new scenario
  10. 10. Process Some areas open to debate: – What to do with the shy student(s) – What to do with the outgoing student(s) – How to assess the progress of the group versus the individuals. – Should each group member research every item identified under what needs to be learned ? – How can this model be modified for other disciplines?
  11. 11. Process Requirements: 1. Students must have/take responsibility for their own learning. 2. Scenarios must allow for free inquiry. 3. Scenarios should integrate multiple disciplines. 4. Scenarios should allow multiple learning styles to be addressed. 5. Group members must collaborate.
  12. 12. Process Requirements: 6. Group Members must continually share what they learn. 7. There must be analysis of what was learned (final reports, presentations, models, prototypes, exams, etc.). 8. Self and Peer assessment in addition to the teacher’s.
  13. 13. Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle Peter Honey & AlanPeter Honey & Alan Mumford’s adaptationMumford’s adaptation PBL is often compared or confused with other learning methods such as project-project- based learningbased learning, cooperativecooperative learning & problem solvingsolving. Each of these does share the learning cycle which moves from experience to conceptualization and from practice to theory – an approach not generally used in American education.
  14. 14. Sample Scenarios from U of CA Orange County, CA - The Tracking of Killer Bees - Biology The Effect of Emotion on Memory - Psych Transportation Rerouting in Orange County - Urban Planning State of CA vs. Orenthal James Simpson - Evidence Handling - Criminology Ecotourism: A Solution to Species Preservation - Environmental Design & Human Environments Does more money buy better education? - Economics: Intro to Stats The Sinking of the Titanic - Principles of Material Science & Engineering Shakespeare’s Two Noble Kinsman: A Question of Authorship - English Lit. Early Earthquake Monitoring - Civil Engineering Sick Kids with an Unusual Organic Aciduria - CHEM 643 INTERMEDIARY METABOLISM Take Only Photos & Leave Only Bubbles: American History from a Sunken Spanish Galleon Punkin' Chunkin‘ – PHYS 208 -Fundamentals of Physics II
  15. 15. PHYS208 Fundamentals of Physics II Group Exercise -Punkin' Chunkin' The Punkin' Chunkin' contest is held in Sussex County, Delaware. The object of this contest is to propel, without use of explosives, an 8 to 10 pound pumpkin as far as possible. The original record was 2,710 feet set by an air cannon from Illinois. Delaware's own Universal Soldier went 3718 feet. There are several categories available: catapult, centrifugal, human-powered, electromagnetic toss. Using the principles of PHYS208 (and PHYS207), design a punkin' chunkin' rail capable of a one-mile toss. Be as specific as possible, taking into consideration physical properties of the pumpkin & ballistics, and as realistic as possible, considering energy sources and dissipation. World Championship Punkin' Chunkin'
  16. 16. Whose Embryo Is It, Anyway? A Sample PBL Using A 3 Stage Scenario
  17. 17. Sample Activity Having participants analyze the color mix percentages in a package of M&M candies.
  18. 18. M&M’s Activities & Objectives 1. Sort 2. Create a visual 3. Compare results 4. Pattern recognition 5. Hypotheses 6. Solution (How many scenarios to use?) Objectives will vary according to the level of the students. This activity has been used in primary grades through graduate levels to teach objectives such as: Counting, sorting, graphing, Excel, PowerPoint, cooperative learning, forming a hypothesis, scientific method, presentation skills, PBL, statistical analysis, production methods, marketing, consulting practices…
  19. 19. What is the Instructor’s Role? Specify the objectives. Monitor groups regularly and intervene only when required. Point the way – make adjustments when groups are off task and their direction will not result in significant learning. If necessary, ask OPEN-ENDED questions like: What do we need to know more about? What is your evidence? Help students REFLECT on their experiences "You will not learn from me, philosophy - but how to philosophize; not thoughts to repeat, but how to think. Think for yourselves, enquire for yourselves, stand on your own feet." ~ Immanuel Kant
  20. 20. Instructor’s Role Raise issues that need to be considered - YOUR experience, but not your knowledge is critical to share. Be prepared to teach mini-lessons on skills along the way – the “teachable moment.” Evaluate student achievement and group efforts on a scheduled basis. Keep students apprised of their performance (rubrics) and progress in relation to other groups.
  21. 21. Instructor’s Role Research suggests that students benefit from immediate feedback from instructors so that misconceptions can be cleared promptly (Norman and Schmidt, 1992). In the classroom, teachers should act as metacognitive coaches, serving as models, thinking aloud with students and practicing behavior they want their students to use (Stepien and Gallagher, 1993). Use scenarios to train students that are non-threatening because they do not require knowledge. It is recommended that training scenarios are not about the course content (though they may be related to the discipline.)
  22. 22. For the Instructor Scenarios should have a completion time of from 2-3 class sessions, up 4 weeks. Research indicates (Gijselaers and Schmidt, 1992) that there is a point of diminishing returns in teacher-centered activities. After about 30% of the class time is spent on any teacher- centered time, it detracts from students' self-study time. The instructor may also need to address the perceived delay in the student performance that often occurs. Research shows that PBL students may not achieve as much, initially with the implementation of PBL (Schmidt, et. al, 1996). However, PBL students retain more than their traditionally educated counterparts and learn life-long, self-directed learning skills that other students may not.
  23. 23. For the Instructor A key result of PBL is that students use their prior knowledge when developing ideas and formulating those ideas into hypothesis that can be tested. The advanced level of a college student will result in a deeper, more complex investigation than would be done by a younger student even if very similar scenarios are used. (Schmidt, Bridges, Barrows) strongly suggest that the instructor provide unstructured time in the class in order for students to assemble in their teams, work with resources, contact and meet with faculty members who may be helpful to their project, and accomplish other tasks necessary in the resolution of the problem. This cannot all occur outside the classroom.