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PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING (Prob. BL) 
BACKGROUND 
Educators in the 21st century face lost challenges in the classroom to deal...
(1993) views that “learning is the process of constructing knowledge, not merely obtaining it, in 
social environments. Th...
The Skiing Vacation 
This problem can be started with a letter or post card, in the language, inviting the 
students (a fa...
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Problem based learning

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Problem based learning

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Problem based learning

  1. 1. PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING (Prob. BL) BACKGROUND Educators in the 21st century face lost challenges in the classroom to deal with students with a wide of range of talent, ability, learning styles, and diversity. While not a panacea, Prob.BL may provide answers for the challenge. According to Boud & Feletti (1991) Prob. BL “is an instructional methodology which is based on resenting the students an “ill-defined” problem for which they are to collaboratively research and propose potential solutions. Key professional problems serve as the stimulus and focus for student activity”. Prob. BL was created by Barrows in 1986 as an instructional method in medical school to prepare the students for real-world problems, allowing them solve medical problem based on the real-life cases. The students worked in teams, and were assigned a medical practitioner who acted as facilitator. This method has become popular for its clear benefits for students to engage in real experience. John Dewey (1897) who first raised the idea of “learning by doing” in educational practice as he argued that “The teacher is not in the school to impose certain ideas or to form certain habits in the child, but is there as a member of community to select the influences which shall affect the child and to assist him in properly responding to these. This method is unique for its focus on learning through solving real, open-ended problems to which there are no fixed solutions. Students work alone or in groups first to understand a particular problem and then to find possible solutions to it. Prob. BL is widely recognized as an effective teaching method in the 21st century. Its benefits are well documented such as; students can develop greater communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving. UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES Prob. BL can be thought of as originated from John Dewey’s (1897) constructivism. He said that education as a toll for solving problems that people encounter in real life as he stated “I want to connect school should be a place where a child would really live. Brooks & Brooks
  2. 2. (1993) views that “learning is the process of constructing knowledge, not merely obtaining it, in social environments. The central concept of Prob. BL is an ill defined problem and this becomes the center of learning. In this way the students encounter different ways or methods to solve the problem, while discussing it with other students in the group discussion. In the classroom, generally, the teacher plays as role as a trainer for or facilitator or activities that the students do themselves. The teacher provides students with appropriate problems to work on, assist them in identifying and accessing the materials and equipment necessary to solve the problem, gives necessary feedback and support during the problem-solving process, and evaluates students participation and products, with the goal of helping them develop their problem-solving as well as their language and literacy skills. In language learning, learner should develop their understanding of the conventions of language use by engaging in the kinds of language activity found in real life, and not by learning list of rules. CLASSROOM PROCEDURES Albion & Gibson (1998) and butler (2003) have described the procedure of Prob. BL from the perspective of students which includes four main steps as follows: 1. Being introduced to the problem 2. Exploring what they do and do not know about the problem 3. Generating possible solutions to the problem 4. Considering the consequences of each solution and selecting the most viable solution. Meanwhile, Savery and Duffy (1995) propose some steps from the perspective of the teacher as a facilitator as follows: 1. Facilitator identifies or designs an ill structured problem or task relevant to the learner. 2. Facilitator presents the problem to the learners. 3. Learners, in their own groups, collaboratively generate working ideas or possible solutions, identify available information related to the problem, identify learning issues, identify resources to look up or consult, assign task to the various group, gather, and propose solution. This is examples of classroom activities which adopt from Clark J. Nelson (1998)
  3. 3. The Skiing Vacation This problem can be started with a letter or post card, in the language, inviting the students (a family) to a skiing vacation in the target country. The students must first comprehend the post card (dictionary usage!), then prepare themselves for the trip by finding out all the relevant vocabulary they would need (at least for the skiing part). The students break up into families and research the area, the potential cost, the exchange rate, and mostly, all of the words for skiing and ski gear that necessary to be well-prepared for the trip.

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