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QEP 2006/2007 Problem-Based Learning Faculty “Advance” Conference Sullivan University November 2, 2006. Lessons Learned from Practicing, Researching, and Teaching Other Faculty the Pedagogy of Problem-Based Learning . Keynote Address Dr. Mick La Lopa Purdue University.

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QEP 2006/2007

Problem-Based Learning Faculty

“Advance” Conference

Sullivan University

November 2, 2006


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Lessons Learned from Practicing, Researching, and TeachingOther Faculty the Pedagogy of Problem-Based Learning

Keynote Address

Dr. Mick La Lopa

Purdue University


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Overview of Keynote

  • What is PBL?

  • The Most Important Person to PBL?

  • Underlying Factors of PBL

  • Information Literacy

  • Barriers for Faculty & Students

  • Problems Associated with PBL

  • The Rewards?!


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What is PBL?

One definition:

  • Barrows and Tamblyn (1980) defined PBL as “the learning that results from the process of working toward the understanding or resolution of a problem.”


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What is PBL?

Another definition:

  • Requiring students – working in teams – to examine a problem, find a solution, think about whether or not the problem was solved, and learn from success or failure of resolving initial problem as intended.


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What is PBL?

…as well as:

  • A pedagogy that employs the use of “real world” problems as a context for students to learn critical thinking and problem solving skills, and acquire knowledge of the essential concepts of a course. (Duch, 1995)


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What is PBL?

What do you mean “Critical Thinking?”

  • Critical Thinking is reflective thought. It requires one to suspend judgment, maintain a healthy skepticism, and exercise and open mind. (John Dewey)



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Underlying Factors of PBL

Synergistic Knowledge Development1:

  • Process by which teams of students’ constructively integrate diverse perspectives of individual membersin the context of group projects / tasks.

    Notes: 1 Mu, S. & Gnyawali (2003). Developing Synergistic Knowledge Development in Students. The Journal of Higher Education 74(6): 689-711.


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Underlying Factors of PBL

SKD is a function of:

  • Task Conflict

  • Psychological Safety

  • Social Interaction

  • Attitude Toward PBL

    • If students not into PBL like the teacher then lower incidence of SKD.


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Underlying Factors of PBL

Essential Communication Thresholds:

  • Procedural Discourse – initiated by teacher or students as to how to approach the problem.

  • Generative Discourse – conversations between team members that provide an opportunity to discuss new meaning or gain new understanding around the problem.


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Underlying Factors of PBL

Communication Thresholds

  • Authoritative Discourse – the team reports their solution to the problem to classroom peers and teacher.

  • Must be vigilant to monitor the discourse of the teams to keep them on task and limit social discourse.


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The Most Important Person to Any PBL Initiative is?



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See this photo of a Librarian? What do you not see!?


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What is the Role of the Librarian?

Critical to Those Teaching via PBL

  • Involved early on in planning the assignment(s) long before they are given to students.

  • May employ scaffolding to bridge students from the discipline specific problem to pertinent information sources.


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What is the Role of the Librarian?

Critical to Those Teaching via PBL

  • Is the CEO of Information Literacy (IL) that joins with faculty to teach students how to access and evaluate resources that will help them solve the problem as they defined it.

  • Students ultimately learn to identify and retrieve the best information resource to use, not the one that is most convenient – like


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Information Literacy

Definition of IL

  • In the broadest possible terms, IL is the ability to access, evaluate, and use information from a variety of sources – which is the heart and soul of PBL.

    (Source: http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~sg96d600/InfoLit_Paper.html)


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Information Literacy

The IL Process:

  • Knowing you have an information need.

  • Identifying and retrieving the needed information to address the topic – using different formats as necessary (e.g., web resources, experts, printed materials).

    Source:

    http://www.umuc.edu/library/tutorials/information_literacy/intro.html


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Information Literacy

The IL Process:

  • Evaluating and critically examining the information and its source.

  • Organizing the information.

  • Using the information effectively.



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Barriers for Faculty

Writing Problems

  • Most faculty think they understand how to write problems after the initial PBL workshop but are really captive of the grade school paradigm of “problem solving” such as next slide:


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Barriers for Faculty

Writing Problems

  • Mary and Patty leave their house at 2 o'clock, following the same route. Patty walks at a steady pace of 4 mph. Mary walks at a leisurely rate of 2 mph for 2 hours and then jogs at 6 mph. When will Mary catch up with Patty?


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Barriers for Faculty

Writing Problems

  • Who is Patty?

  • Who is Mary?

  • Really, who cares!?


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Barriers for Faculty

Writing Problems

  • The problem should be relevant to the learner, interesting, and invite them to want to develop the skills being taught in the class.

  • So, perhaps the problem could be retooled to teach how math can be used to calculate time and distance by:


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Barriers for Faculty

Writing Problems

  • How many students in class have friends, relatives, or acquaintances that live out of state?

  • Work with a partner to choose one for today’s lesson, which is:


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Barriers for Faculty

Writing Problems

  • If traveling by car what time would you arrive at _________________ house if left your house on Saturday morning at 8 am?

    Grading Issues

  • How do you develop an “answer key” for problems such as the one above?


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Barriers for Faculty

Time

  • It takes more time and thought to teach a PBL module or full blown course as compared to the basic lecture.

    Fear of the Unknown

  • Putting students in control of their learning is scary to those teachers accustomed to command and control.



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Barriers for Students

The Mistakes of Teachers Past

  • Students used to “sage on the stage” and unsure of themselves in a PBL environment.

  • Students want to know “the answer.” They may try to arrive at solution to the problem that will meet with approval of teacher.

  • You are the teacher so teach me!


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Barriers for Students

The Loss of Control

  • There are students who will feel emotional stress when their grade depends on the efforts of others on PBL assignments.



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Problems Associated with PBL

Social Loafing

  • Students will take advantage of being part of a team and do as little as possible to get by and let the bulk of the team do the work yet get the grade given the team.

  • The source of social loafing on team-based projects is?!


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Problems Associated with PBL

Social Loafing

  • The teacher is primarily responsible for social loafing. If the problem does not require the resources of a team then there will be slacking based on human nature.

  • The students are also responsible for social loafing because they permit it by taking on work the slackers were supposed to do.


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Problems Associated with PBL

The Copy and Paste Generation

  • Students have no qualms about highlighting information on the Internet, copying, and then pasting it into a document without citing the source. They think that since it is free and accessible it does not have to be cited so plagiarism may ensue.


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Problems Associated with PBL

The Path of Least Resistance

  • Students are “Americanized.” They read the problem then hastily formulate an answer.

  • They then find information to support their answer which requires no thinking or objectivity on their part!


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Problems Associated with PBL

Student Behavioral Styles

  • What is the mix of students? What is percentage of Directors, Relaters, Socializers, or Thinkers?

  • The students in my classes are Socializers and they would rather take a beating than engage in thinking activities 



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The Rewards?

Complaints to the Department Head

  • Students are the one group of consumers who complain the loudest when give them what they are paying for!


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The Rewards?

Lower Course Evaluations!

  • There is a direct correlation between the amount of thinking required on behalf of the students and course evaluations.

    • In my intro class there are high 4’s (max 5). In junior class there are high 3’s and low 4’s. In my senior class there are 2’s!


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The Rewards?

Personal Satisfaction

  • The students may not like learning via PBL but one day they will appreciate the fact that you equipped them to solve the problems they are certain to face in their lives and careers (transfer validity).


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The Rewards?

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

  • Can contribute to the scholarship of PBL by conducting workshops, presenting at conferences, and non-refereed and refereed publications, such as Purdue’s IJPBL, and more.




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