|Problem Based Learning|
- To understand what is PoBL (Problem based Learning)and how to use it
- To define an ill structured Problem
- Form Groups for discussions using WENotes
- Collaborate and document solution and solution process on a wiki
- Summarize the Solution on the collaborative wiki.
|What is PoBL: Problem Based Learning|
Problem based learning
"Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand."
This perceptive Chinese proverb as translated by Ichiro Ochai, recognizes the limited effectiveness of lectures and emphasises need of involvement collaboration. Problem-based Learning follows the research of Barrows and Tamblyn (1980) and was first implemented in medical education in McMaster University in Canada in the 60’s. Having started with medicine in Canada, PBL has spread across the globe and across the disciplines. In exploring the issue of defining Problem-based Learning
Advantages of PBL
Most of them shows that PBL Learning through problem solving is more effective than memory based learning.
* Problem-solving and Research skills: Student develop the skill “how to learn” and skill of critical thinking. Student also develops the skill of self-directed learning. * Motivation: As the problems are real world problems and PoBL has more motivational appeal than traditional methods. * Social skill: Student also adopt themselves in a team-working environment which is very much vital to work in professional organizations. * Effective: Now when comes the situation where students have to apply their previous knowledge, student taught in PBL methodology, apply it better.
Disadvantages of PBL
* High teacher-student ratio: If the teacher-student ratio is low then large tutorial group need to be formed. In a large group it will be difficult for the facilitator to facilitate the group, track performance of individual student. So PoBL require high teacher-student ratio. * Cost: As implementation of PoBL course require more time than traditional methods, if teacher is new to PoBL then he might need training, students need access to different documents, infrastructure for discussion etc, PBL is a costly process. * Effect on Knowledge: In PoBL course students gained slightly less knowledge than traditional teaching methodology, though they remember more of acquired knowledge.
Challenges in PBL
* Different: PoBL is a different than traditional methods, so if students are never taught in PBL method they find it hard to switch * Assessment: Traditional assessment do a little in PBL. Most student feel insecure in PBL if traditional assessment is followed.PoBL is a process based approach than product based. So the teacher should not judge based on only the final report, rather should evaluate a student based on participation and contribution throughout the whole PoBL course. * Free Riders: Free riders is a term used in PoBL, to indicate students who doesn’t contribute in the group. Tracking these students is a challenge in PBL. * Time Consuming: Teacher need to do lots of extra work in PBL, beside the subjective support to the student. Works Like group formation, tracking the progress of the group, determining strategy for self, peer evaluation and process the result of peer and self evaluation. * Communication: In PBL student work in group, so generally lots of communication happens. So proper communication tools are required.
Barrows defines it as: The learning that results from the process of working towards the understanding of a resolution of a problem. The problem is encountered first in the learning process . Lloyd-Jones, Margeston and Bligh (1998: 494) reconsider the “essential features of Problem-based Learning”. They argue that: Three shared elements stand out from the current picture of PBL in action: the initiating trigger, the learning that students undertake by researching the learning issues identified in the first tutorial, and the use of knowledge in furthering their understanding of the trigger situation particularly in the final tutorial.
PBL is both a curriculum and a process. The curriculum consists of carefully selected and designed problems that demand from the learner acquisition of critical knowledge, problem-solving proficiency, self-directed learning strategies and team participation skills. The process replicates the common used systemic approach to resolving problems or meeting challenges that are encountered in life and career
Operational definition of PBL
- First students are presented with a problem
- Students discuss the problem in a small group PBL tutorial. They define what the problem is. They brainstorm ideas based on the prior knowledge.They identify what they need to learn to work on the problem, what they do not know. They reason through the problem.
- They specify an action plan for working on the problem.
- Students engage in independent study on their learning issues outside the tutorial.
- This can include: library, databases, the web, resource people and observations
- They come back to the PBL tutorial(s) sharing information, peer teaching and working together on the problem
- They present their solution to the problem
- They review what they have learned from working on the problem.
- All who participate in the process engage in self, peer and tutor review of the PBL process and reflections on each person’s contribution to that process
Terry Barrett states thee are Four components of Problem-based Learning, as a total education strategy, are:
- PoBL curriculum design
- PoBL tutorials
- PoBL compatible assessments
- Philosophical principles underpinning PBL
PBL Curriculum Design
At the core of PoBL curriculum design is a set of well designed, ill-structured or open-ended,real-life, engaging problems. Problems are not always about difficulties that need to be sorted out. Challenges, dilemmas, and triggers are problems. Understanding a puzzling phenomenon or a difficult concept can be a problem. How to find a better, more ethical or cheaper way of doing something is a problem. How to design or create something is a problem.
Designing a PBL curriculum means reconceptualising our curriculum in ways that emphasise:
- Selection of content from practice
- Concepts as the organising structure of the curriculum [and expressed as learning outcomes for the whole unit]
- Process as content
- Graduate outcomes not subject-based outcomes
 Variety and challenge are very important in designing PBL problems a measure of the quality of a problem is the degree to which it stimulates the students’ desire to learn. The two features highlighted by the study were the levels of variety and challenge perceived by students.
 In a problem-based learning (PBL) model, students engage complex, challenging problems and collaboratively work toward their resolution. PBL is about students connecting disciplinary knowledge to real-world problems—the motivation to solve a problem becomes the motivation to learn.
 The assessment for PBL is done through instruments and rubics developed by Instructional designers
Some guidelines for groups formation
*Stick to schedule in every online discussion *Be prepared to discuss the assignment. (a minimum 2-3 hours preparation outside of class is expected for each class.) *Notify other group members, your tutor, and the instructor in advance (when possible) if you must miss a session. *Freely share the information you gather outside of class with other group members. *Use time wisely. *Solicit and value contributions from every group member. *Group members who disrupt the group's function by ignoring the group's guidelines can be confronted by the other members of the group
To assist your group in working well together, it is often useful to define roles and to rotate them on a weekly basis. Your tutor-facilitator (see below) will provide guidance. Some of the roles and responsibilities to consider in this course are:
*Recorder - This person keeps track of the learning issues in the group and who has responsibility for pursuing each learning issue. *Task Master - This person keeps discussions on track. Class time may be the only convenient time your group can get together so you need to avoid digressions that are not related to the course. *Skeptic - This person challenges the accuracy and reliability of information. The skeptic needs to make sure everyone in the group understands important concepts before going on. *Technical Advisor - This person focuses on methodology and is the expert on questions of how things are done and the principles behind how things work. *Web-Scanners and Library Researchers - Roles that everyone should assume between every class. These involve tracking down answers to group learning issues on the web and in the library.
Different problem formats
Scenarios, Video clips, Physical Objects, Dialogues ,Photographs, Letters, Cartoons, Poems, Metaphors,,Limericks, Requests, Set of Playing cards ,Audio-tape recordings, Posters, Dilemmas, E-mails, Briefs , Progressive disclosure, Follow-ups, Quotations, Newspaper articles, T.V. Shows, Literature
Structure of the Online PBL Course
*About the Instructor *Schedule *Prerequisites *Handouts about Course *Classroom Resources
Grading Important General Information
*Brief Course Description *Course Objectives and Content *Pedagogy and Philosophy of PBL *Group Formation and Function *Tutor-Facilitators *Portfolio , Journal *Evaluation Rubics *Reading Assignments *Writing Assignments
Seven Jump Approach
Another model for scaffolding the PBL process is the seven jump approach 
- Clarify unknown terms and concepts in the problem description
- Define the problem: that is list the phenomena to be explained
- Analyse the problem: “brainstorm”: try to produce as many different explanations for the phenomenon as you can. Use prior knowledge and common sense
- Criticise the explanations proposed and try to produce a coherent description of the processes that, according to what you think, underlie the phenomena
- Formulate learning issues for SDL[self-directed learning]
- Fill in the gaps in your knowledge through self-study
- Share your findings with your group and try to integrate the knowledge acquired into a comprehensive explanation of the phenomena. Check whether you know enough now.
Ways to be a great PBL facilitator
Here are ways to be a geat fscilitator for PBL 
- Be interested and enthusiastic
- Forget lecturing
- Tolerate silence
- Get students talking to each other and not to you
- Make sure the group agree on learning issues before the group ends
- Promote the use of accurate current information resources as students research their learning issues
- Remember the learning outcomes of the case and course
- Establish a good learning environment for the group
- Be yourself
Dolmans et al 2005, in a paper entitled “Problem-based Learning: future challenges for educational practice and research,” argues that the future challenges for educational practice and research include the need for: Research that bridges theory and practice and extends knowledge about developing and improving PBL in everyday practice.
If you want to work with a set of principles to guide you in assessing students in enquiry and Problem-based Learning you might start with those developed by Macdonald and Savin-Baden 2004 
- Assessment should ideally be based in a practice context in which students will find themselves in the future - whether real or simulated
- Assess what the professional does in their practice, which is largely processbased professional activity, underpinned by appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes
- Assessment should reflect the learner’s development from a novice to an expert practitioner and so should be developmental throughout the programme of studies
- Students should begin to appreciate and experience the fact that in a professional capacity they will encounter clients, users, professional bodies,peers, competitors, statutory authorities, etc. who will, in effect, be ‘assessing’them
- Students should also be able to engage in self-assessment and reflection as the basis for future continuing professional development and self-directed learning
- As lecturers we need to ensure that there is alignment between our objectives and the students’ anticipated learning outcomes, the learning and teaching methods adopted, and the assessment of learning strategies, methods and criteria
METHODS OF ASSESSMENT IN ENQUIRY AND PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING Macdonald and Savin-Baden (2004) list some of the forms of assessment that have been used successfully with enquiry and Problem-based Learning and which also move away from the need to have outcome-based examinations. To summarise, these include:
- group presentations
- individual presentations
- tripartite assessment
- case-based individual essays
- case-based care plans
- triple jump
- peer assessment
- viva voce examinations
- reflective (online) journals
- patchwork texts
- electronic assessment
Problem-based Learning are processes leading to a variety of outcomes and that the challenge is to use assessment to contribute to more effective learning, not merely to lead to marks or grades. There may be a lot of ‘un-learning’ and letting go to be done by both students and tutors before there is genuine alignment of assessment with the learning goals and principles and practices of enquiry and Problem-based Learning. The real challenge is to make assessment a rewarding, challenging and even fun part of a similarly rewarding, challenging and fun learning experience! It has to be taken seriously but that does not mean it has to be serious all the time. Enquiry and Problem-based Learning should be as engaging in an educational setting as it is for the young child finding things out for the first time.
|References and Bibliography|
-  Terry Barret, Chapter 2, http://www.nuigalway.ie/celt/pblbook/contents.htm
-  Maricopa Community Colleges, Centre for Learning and Instruction:http://www.mcli.dist.maricopa.edu/pbl/info/
-  Conway and Little, 2000
-  Mauffette, Kandlibinder and Soucisse 2004
-  http://www.udel.edu/inst/ (accessed on 14 Feb 2012)
-  http://www.udel.edu/inst/resources/evaluation-forms.html
-  Schmidt and Moust, 2000: 23
-  Catchum PBL users guide www.catchum.utub.edu
-  ASSESSMENT STRATEGIES FOR ENQUIRY AND PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING Ranald Macdonald , Sheffield Hallam University, Chapter 9 , http://www.nuigalway.ie/celt/pblbook/contents.htm
-  Means B, Toyama Y, Murphy R, Bakia M, and Jones K. Evaluation of evidence-based practices in online learning: A meta-analysis and review of online learning studies. Aug,2009.
-  D.R. Brodeur, P.W. Young, and K.B. Blair. Problem-based learning in aerospace engineering education. In Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, Montreal, Canada, pages 16–19. Citeseer, 2002.
-  Rosenthal H Gallagher S.A., Stepien W.J. The effects of problem-based learning on problem solving. Gifted Child Quarterly, 36(4):195–200, 1992.
-  R. Garcia-Robles, S. Vicente-Diaz, and A. Linares-Barranco. An eLearning Standard Approach for Supporting PBL in Computer Engineering. Education, IEEE Transactions on, 52(3):328–339, 2009.
-  H.G. SCHMIDT J.H.C. MOUST, H.J.M. VAN BERKEL. Signs of erosion: Reflections on three decades of problem-based learning at maastricht university. Higher Education, 50(4):665–683, Oct, 2005.
-  M. Qiu and L. Chen. A Problem-Based Learning Approach to Teaching an Advanced Software Engineering Course. In 2010 Second International Workshop on Education Technology and Computer Science, pages 252–255. IEEE, 2010.
-  I. Richardson and Y. Delaney. Problem Based Learning in the Software Engineering Classroom. In Software Engineering Education and Training, 2009. CSEET’09. 22nd Conference on, pages 174–181. IEEE, 2009.
-  R. Waters and M. McCracken. Assessment and evaluation in problem-based learning. In Frontiers in Education Conference, 1997. 27th Annual Conference.’Teaching and Learning in an Era of Change’. Proceedings., volume 2, pages 689–693. IEEE, 2002.