WikiEdProfessional eLearning Guidebook/Pedagogical designs for eLearning/Pedagogical designs for optimizing e-learning/Problem-based and goal-based learning

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Of all learning by doing type pedagogical designs, these two designs are in fact most similar in orientation to scenario-based learning. In problem-based learning, a problem situation serves as the context and anchor for all learning and teaching activities (see Barrows, 1994). Problem-based learning begins with the presentation of a problem to students, which can be in the form of short video clip, a picture with text, or just text. Upon encountering this problem situation, students are expected to analyze it and decide what needs to be done next. A critical feature of problem-based learning is small group problem-solving and inquiry (Hmelo, Holton, & Kolodner, 2000). Students work in small groups to analyze the presenting problem, make decisions on what needs to be done next, and act upon them to resolve the problem situation satisfactorily. In so doing they will have been expected to achieve the intended learning outcomes (see Naidu, & Oliver, 1996; Schank, Fano, Jona, & Bell, 1994).

While problem-solving is implicit in problem-based learning, learners are not told explicitly what is their role in the problem, or what they are supposed to do as they seek to analyze the presenting problem. In goal-based learning, on the other hand, they are told very specifically what is their role in the scenario and what they are supposed to do in order to resolve the problem satisfactorily. How they go about analyzing the problem to achieve a satisfactory solution to the problem is left to their imagination and creativity (see Naidu, Oliver, & Koronios, 1999; Naidu, & Oliver, 1999). Both, problem-based and goal-based learning designs have been widely used in the study of medical, education and environmental sciences.