Problem-based learning (PBL) is an active student-directed educational method. In PBL learners progressively develop autonomous learning skills. Learners increasingly continue to learn on their own in the program and in life. A facilitator provides the educational materials and guidance that enhances learning. A real world problem is the basis of PBL. A complex PBL problem stimulates the learner to organize and integrate learned information in ways that promote its recall and application to future problems. PBL problems challenge learners to acquire problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
Learners process and solve a problem with information they may already possess permitting them to validate what they already know. They also identify and inquire into what they need to know. Learners engage in independent study researching learning issues using different resources such as books, reports, journals, online information, individuals with relevant expertise. Thus, PBL personalizes learning to individual needs and learning styles. Learners return with their research reports and apply their expanded understanding of the problem in order to resolve it. At the conclusion of a PBL case, learners assess their work, each other and the facilitator.
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