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PBL: Facilitator workshop. Carolyn Gibbon University of Central Lancashire. Problem-based Learning (PBL). ‘A conception of knowledge, understanding and education that is profoundly different from the more usual concept underlying subject-based learning’ (Margetson 1991).

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pbl facilitator workshop

PBL: Facilitator workshop

Carolyn Gibbon

University of Central Lancashire

problem based learning pbl
Problem-based Learning (PBL)
  • ‘A conception of knowledge, understanding and education that is profoundly different from the more usual concept underlying subject-based learning’

(Margetson 1991)

pbl in a nutshell
PBL in a nutshell!
  • Traditional approaches:

knowledge – problem – solutions

  • PBL approaches:

problem – learning - solutions

rationale for pbl
Rationale for PBL
  • Learning via the use of situations is an efficient way to learn
  • Scenarios facilitate the integration of knowledge from many fields
  • The practice of PBL encourages the thinking processes and helps set a pattern for life long learning.
  • Intellectually stimulating.
aims of pbl
Aims of PBL:

To develop competency in:

  • Problem-solving
  • Self-directed learning
  • Small group learning
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Integrating different parts of the curriculum
traditional v pbl methods
Traditional v. PBL methods
  • Lecture…………..small group learning
  • Subject based…………problem based
  • Disease focused……...patient focused
  • Competitive……………….co-operative
pbl the process
PBL – the process
  • Problem
  • Hypothesis
  • Resources
  • Reporting back
  • Action plan
  • Problem situation reflecting learning outcomes/area of study
  • E.g. photograph, video, simulated patient, written scenario
  • Other names: triggers, scenario
mary shaw
Mary Shaw
  • Mary attends the Sandhills Day Centre 3 days a week. She is 75 years old and is a widow. Her 32 year old son lives with her. A nurse reports bruising on Mary’s arms and legs
  • Identifying clearly what seems to be the problem
  • Brainstorm possible explanations
  • Clarify what learning is needed
  • Set tasks
problem identification
Problem identification
  • Fall
  • Elder abuse
  • Blood disorder
  • Sensory deterioration
  • Why day hospital referral?
  • Self-harming
possible explanations
Possible explanations
  • Sensory deficits
  • Altered home environment
  • Part son plays as carer
  • Blood disorders
  • Cerebro-vascular disorders
  • Alcoholism
  • Psychological undertones
learning needs
Learning needs
  • A & P of the C.V. system
  • Pathophysiology
  • TIAs and Stroke
  • Nursing Care
  • Sensory deprivation
  • Falls in the elderly
  • Alcoholism in the elderly
  • Elder abuse
  • Sons as carers
  • Community networks
  • Role and function of day hospitals
  • Bereavement issues
  • Self-image
  • Family networks
consulting resources
Consulting resources
  • Textbooks
  • Journal articles
  • Laboratory work
  • Resource personnel
  • websites
reporting back
Reporting back
  • Each student reports his/her findings to the whole group.
  • The group discusses the collective information in relation to the original problem.
  • Understanding is modified.
  • More learning may be needed or proceed to action/care plan.
resource guide
Resource guide
  • People: Sue Smith (researcher in elder abuse) or Ann Jones (health visitor)
  • Library: search terms e.g. elder abuse
  • Journals: e.g. Gerontological Nursing
  • Media: videos, websites
  • Organisations: Age Concern
action care plan
Action/Care plan
  • Will depend on area of study and the group themselves.
  • Rationale for actions must always be given.
  • May form part of formal assessment.
  • Written plan, case conference, role play, video.
care issues
Care issues
  • Day hospital care – care on discharge
  • Hospital at home
  • Bereavement counsellor
  • Son – job club, support
  • Role of community nurses
  • Stroke club
  • Key workers
role play
Role Play
  • Introduction to scenario and small group working
small group learning
Small group learning

A group is a collection of people who possess the following:

  • Definable membership
  • Group consciousness
  • A shared sense of purpose
  • Interaction
  • Ability to act in a unified manner
  • Passive observer and record taker to active listener
  • Minimal pre-class preparation to greater self-preparation
  • Being only an attendee to risk taker
  • Personal choice attender to group expectations of attendance
  • Competition to cooperation with peers
  • Self-motivated learning to interdependent learning
  • Perceiving knowledge authority as texts and teachers to accepting self and peers as relevant learning resources.

(Rideout 2001)

student responsibilities
Student responsibilities
  • Attend meetings as scheduled
  • Participate in discussions
  • Appoint a chairperson and scribe
  • Ensure equity of learning tasks
  • Listen carefully and critically to others
  • Bring in appropriate pieces of research
  • Report back findings in a coherent and legible manner
  • Reflect on what is said
  • Try and see points from others perspective
  • Contribute insights
  • Complete work set with an action plan or care plan
  • ‘The good facilitator is a good and educative teacher in so far as he or she facilitates valuable learning by students’

(Margetson 1991)


The facilitator:

  • Guides the students through the enquiry and decision-making processes
  • Questions the rationale for their judgement
  • Challenges their assumptions
facilitator responsibilities
Facilitator responsibilities
  • To attend scheduled meetings
  • To support students as required, either as ‘devil’s advocate’ or supplier of information on request
  • Be a partner in the learning process
  • Assessment and evaluation of student learning
  • Learning resources
  • Promoting critical thinking, problem-solving, group and individual learning
  • Understand group dynamics
Facilitation :
  • The main task is to ‘guide’ your group. You need a reasonable level of confidence with the learning packs content, but you do not have to be an expert.
  • Facilitate an open learning climate which encourages students to challenge each other and admit any difficulties
  • Encourage critical thinking, even at level one. Do not be too interventionist, but avoid a totally passive role. Aim for the middle ground.
  • Facilitating a group is a process. Sometimes you will be a role model, a coach, a critic, or even an impressed observer.
first pbl session
First PBL session
  • Get to know each other – ice breakers may be useful
  • Discuss how the group is going to work
  • Develop ground rules – these are VITAL
  • Contact arrangements
  • Discuss learning objectives for module
1 st pbl session contd
1st PBL session (contd.)
  • The group nominate a chairperson and secretary
  • At start of pack clarify any unfamiliar terms in the scenario
  • The group brainstorm what is happening in the scenario, noting points on a flip-chart
  • Identify main issues
  • Develop a hypothesis
  • Allocate work, working in pairs or individually
  • Facilitator verbally evaluates progress
second pbl session
Second PBL session
  • Each student openly discusses their findings
  • Sharing written information must be agreed by the group
  • Progress is evaluated and new work allocated (if necessary)
third pbl session
Third PBL session
  • Discuss new findings
  • Students collate their information and compare with their hypothesis
  • Devise care/action plan
  • Encourage creativity e.g. case conference
  • Work evaluated and feedback given
giving feedback
Giving feedback
  • Be specific rather than general
  • Be descriptive e.g. ‘you didn’t…’
  • Reveal your own position e.g. ‘I felt..’
  • Encourage – so use praise
receiving feedback
Receiving feedback
  • Listen to what the students are saying
  • Consider what they have said
  • What can they do to help you and themselves
problems in pbl sessions
Problems in PBL sessions
  • Occasional ‘bad’ sessions occur as well as ‘brilliant’ ones
  • A series of poor sessions needs careful assessment and discussion
  • Insist the group maintains self-discipline e.g. time-keeping
  • Silence does not necessarily mean non-participation
  • If group dysfunctional inform module leader sooner rather than later
aim for the 4 e s
Aim for the 4 ‘E’s
  • Excellence
  • Efficiency
  • Effectiveness
  • Evaluation

This will encourage the 5th – Enthusiasm!

facilitator role in relation to assessment and evaluation
Facilitator role in relation to Assessment and Evaluation
  • Determine what formative and summative assessments are to be completed
  • Carry out module evaluations as guided by module leader
  • Resist temptation to give mini - lectures
pbl and alignment biggs 2003
PBL and alignment (Biggs 2003)
  • Professional practice requires functioning knowledge that can be put to work immediately, not just declarative (verbal) knowledge. If desired outcomes are for professional competency, but declarative knowledge is the output, then the curriculum, teaching and assessment are not aligned.
  • PBL is alignment in itself.
  • Dealing with initial case: hypothesising, checking data, use of information
  • Review of independent study: knowledge gained, level of understanding, evaluating the information
  • Final problem formulation: synthesis of key concepts, application to patient, self-monitoring, response to feedback.
advantages of pbl
Advantages of PBL
  • A problem at the beginning provides a concrete application
  • Links and experience help recall of information
  • PBL helps to learn and understand new material easier
  • In PBL each student takes in small pieces of information and synthesises it for the larger picture – like a jigsaw!
disadvantages of pbl
Disadvantages of PBL
  • Some will be uncomfortable with PBL because they prefer the anonymity of lectures and a subject-base
  • It may appear as though not much learning is taking place
  • Good problem-solving is not automatic – it takes practice
last but never least
Last but never least…
  • Being a facilitator can be very rewarding. Read around ‘being a facilitator’. Compare notes with other facilitators. Observe groups in action and take opportunities to co-facilitate. When you are ready to ‘go it alone’ they are plenty of people to support you. Last, but never least, enjoy the experience – both you and the students will gain a great deal.