Problem based learning an overview
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Problem-Based Learning:An Overview. John Savery The University of Akron. Context …. 1983 - undergraduate course on History of Education in Western Canada Professor told the history of the people who lived through the times using their diaries and journals.

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Problem based learning an overview

Problem-Based Learning:An Overview

John Savery

The University of Akron

John Savery-University of Akron


Context

Context…

  • 1983 - undergraduate course on History of Education in Western Canada

  • Professor told the history of the people who lived through the times using their diaries and journals.

  • Major assignment for the class was to go into the archives of the museum and research a history and tell their story.

John Savery-University of Akron


Learning should be engaging

Learning should be engaging…

  • Since then I have looked for instructional methods that work as well as that activity did for me.

  • Simulations and games are a good strategy.

  • Inquiry based, problem based and other experiential learning approaches are also very effective.

John Savery-University of Akron


Problem based learning is

Problem-Based Learning is…

  • an instructional (and curricular) learner-centered approach that empowers learners to conduct research, integrate theory and practice, and apply knowledge and skills to develop a viable solution to a defined problem.

John Savery-University of Akron


Problem based learning an overview

  • Critical to the success of the PBL approach is the selection of ill-structured problems (often interdisciplinary) and a tutor who guides the learning process and conducts a thorough debriefing at the conclusion of the learning experience.

John Savery-University of Akron


Characteristics

Characteristics

  • Students must have the responsibility for their own learning.

  • The problem situations used must be ill-structured and allow for free inquiry.

  • Learning should be integrated from a wide range of disciplines or subjects.

  • Collaboration is essential.

John Savery-University of Akron


Characteristics1

Characteristics

  • Outcomes of self-directed learning must be applied back to the problem with reanalysis and resolution.

  • Reflection and debriefing on what has been learned is essential.

  • Self and peer assessment is required at the completion of each problem and curricular unit.

John Savery-University of Akron


Characteristics2

Characteristics

  • The activities carried out in problem-based learning must be those valued in the real world.

  • Examinations must measure student progress towards the goals of problem-based learning.

  • Problem-based learning must be the pedagogical base of the curriculum.

John Savery-University of Akron


Students must be responsible for their own learning

Students must be responsible for their own learning

  • PBL is a learner-centered approach – students engage with the problem with whatever their current knowledge or experience affords.

  • Learner motivation increases when responsibility for the solution to the problem and the process rests with the learner and as student ownership for learning increases

John Savery-University of Akron


Responsible for their own learning

…responsible for their own learning

  • Inherent in the design of PBL is a public articulation by the learners of what they know and about what they need to learn more.

  • Individuals accept responsibility for seeking relevant information and bringing that back to the group to help inform the development of a viable solution.

John Savery-University of Akron


Problems must be ill structured and allow for free inquiry

Problems must be ill-structured and allow for free inquiry

  • Problems in the real world are ill-structured (or they would not be problems). A critical skill developed through PBL is the ability to identify the problem and set parameters on the development of a solution.

  • Learners are less motivated and less invested in the development of the solution to a well-structured problem.

John Savery-University of Akron


Learning should be integrated from a wide range of disciplines

Learning should be integrated from a wide range of disciplines

  • Students should be able to access, study and integrate information from all the disciplines that might be related to understanding and resolving a particular problem -- just as people in the real world must recall and apply information integrated from diverse sources in their work.

John Savery-University of Akron


Wide range of disciplines

…wide range of disciplines

  • The rapid expansion of information has encouraged a cross-fertilization of ideas and led to the development of new disciplines.

  • Multiple perspectives lead to a more thorough understanding of the issues and the development of a more robust solution.

John Savery-University of Akron


Collaboration is essential

Collaboration is essential

  • In the world after school most learners will find themselves in jobs where they need to share information and work productively with others. PBL provides a format for the development of these essential skills.

  • During a PBL session the tutor will ask questions of any and all members to ensure that information has been shared between members in relation to the group’s problem.

John Savery-University of Akron


Apply outcomes of self directed learning to the problem with reanalysis and resolution

Apply outcomes of self-directed learning to the problem with reanalysis and resolution

  • The point of self-directed research is for individuals to collect information that will inform the group’s decision-making process in relation to the problem.

  • It is essential that each individual share coherently what he or she have learned and how that information might impact on developing a solution to the problem.

John Savery-University of Akron


Reflection and debriefing on what has been learned is essential

Reflection and debriefing on what has been learned is essential

  • PBL is a very engaging, motivating and involving form of experiential learning, learners are often very close to the immediate details of the problem and the proposed solution.

  • The purpose of the post-experience debriefing process (see Steinwachs, 1992; Thiagarajan, 1993 for details on debriefing) is to consolidate the learning and ensure that the experience has been reflected upon.

John Savery-University of Akron


Reflect and debrief

Reflect and debrief

  • Barrows (1988) advises that learners examine all facets of the PBL process to better understand

    • what they know

    • what they learned

    • how they performed.

John Savery-University of Akron


Self and peer assessment at the completion problems and units

Self and peer assessment at the completion problems and units

  • These assessment activities are related to the reflection on knowledge gains.

  • The significance of this activity is to reinforce the self-reflective nature of learning and sharpen a range of metacognitive processing skills.

John Savery-University of Akron


Activities carried out in pbl must be those valued in the real world

Activities carried out in PBL must be those valued in the real world

  • The selection of authentic problems in PBL is discussed extensively in Savery & Duffy (1995), Stinson and Milter (1996), Wilkerson and Gijselaers (1996), and Macdonald (1997).

  • The transfer of skills learned through PBL to a real world context is also noted by Bransford, Brown, & Cocking (2000, p. 77).

John Savery-University of Akron


Exams must measure student progress toward pbl goals

Exams must measure student progress toward PBL goals

  • The goals of PBL are both knowledge-based and process-based. Students need to be assessed on both dimensions at regular intervals to ensure that they are benefiting as intended from the PBL approach.

  • Students are responsible for the content in the curriculum that they have ‘covered’ through engagement with problems. They need to be able to recognize and articulate what they know and what they have learned.

John Savery-University of Akron


Use pbl as the pedagogical base of the curriculum

Use PBL as the pedagogical base of the curriculum

  • A half-hearted approach to PBL is unlikely to succeed. A partial approach will inevitably fall back into didactic teacher-centered instruction as students learn that they can out-wait the teacher and the answers will be provided.

  • Teachers considering PBL must understand what to expect and be prepared to stay with it until students are weaned from their teacher dependency.

John Savery-University of Akron


Questions

Questions?

  • Covered a lot of elements so far and there are some others to discuss.

  • When questions are finished let’s work on a problem…

John Savery-University of Akron


Pbl and storytelling

PBL and Storytelling

  • PBL is a strategy that uses specific tactics to achieve the intended learning outcomes.

  • Stories are used to ‘set the problem’ for the learners.

  • The characteristics of a good story compliment the setting of the problem.

John Savery-University of Akron


Some story characteristics

Some story characteristics

  • Control of time and place.

  • Control of characters in the story.

  • Control of information.

  • Control of events.

John Savery-University of Akron


Some pbl problem elements

Some PBL ‘problem’ elements

  • Initial parameters of problem provided in a story format

    • Medical symptoms described

    • General elements of situation described

    • Characters/players/roles introduced

    • Often elements of time and place (changes noted over time, symptoms related to change of place)

John Savery-University of Akron


Pbl as curriculum

PBL as curriculum

  • Learners encounter ‘problems’ that are authentic in the discipline.

  • The selection of problems is deliberate.

  • The problems selected are designed to integrate knowledge and practice.

  • The debriefing is used to consolidate the learning.

John Savery-University of Akron


Problems as stories

Problems as Stories

  • Motivation is an important element in learning.

  • Dramatic stories can help motivate the learners.

  • Example: asteroid problem, loss of habitat and extinction of a species, flooding prevention and the list goes on…

John Savery-University of Akron


Wrap up

Wrap-up

  • PBL as an instructional strategy empowers learners to develop viable solutions to ill-structured problems.

  • Ill-structured problems may be presented effectively through stories.

  • Learners will develop their own story as the develop a problem solution.

John Savery-University of Akron


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