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Problem Based Learning

Problem Based Learning

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Problem Based Learning

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  1. Problem Based Learning

  2. What Is PBL? • A pedagogical strategy for posing significant, contextualized, real world situations, and providing resources, guidance, and instruction to learners as they develop content knowledge and problem-solving skills (Mayo, Donnelly, Nash, & Schwartz, 1993) • Students collaborate or compete to study the issues of a problem as they strive to create viable solutions. • Unlike traditional instruction, which is often conducted in lecture format, teaching in problem based learning normally occurs within small discussion groups of students facilitated by a faculty tutor (Aspy, Aspy, & Quimby, 1993, Bridges & Hallinger, 1991).

  3. The Teacher’s Role in PBL • Because the amount of direct instructon is reduced in problem based learning, students assume greater responsibility for their own learning (Bridges & Hallinger, 1991). • The instructor's role becomes one of subject matter expert, resource guide, and task group consultant. • This arrangement promotes group processing of information rather than an imparting of information by faculty (Vernon & Blake, 1993). • The instructor's role is to encourage student participation, provide appropriate information to keep students on track, avoid negative feedback, and assume the role of fellow learner (Aspy et al., 1993).

  4. Evolution of PBL • Although the roots of problem based learning can be traced back through inquiry training, John Dewey, and apprenticeships, recent evolution of the pedagogy was pioneered at Case Western Reserve University in the early 1950s. • The structure developed by this university now serves as the basis of the curriculum at many secondary, post-secondary, and graduate schools including Harvard Medical School (Savery, 1994). • In fact, over 80% of medical schools use the problem based learning methodology to teach students about clinical cases, either real or hypothetical (Vernon & Blake, 1993, Bridges & Hallinger, 1991).

  5. PBL Goes Beyond Content • The ability to solve problems is more than just accumulating knowledge and rules; it is the development of flexible, cognitive strategies that help analyze unanticipated, ill-structured situations to produce meaningful solutions. • Even though many of today's complex issues are within the realm of student understanding, the skills needed to tackle these problems are often missing from instruction. • Typical problem solving taught in schools often tends to be situation specific with well-defined problem parameters that lead to predetermined outcomes with one correct answer. • In these situations, it is often the procedures required to solve the problem that are the focus of instruction. Unfortunately, students skilled in this method are not adequately prepared when they encounter problems in which they need to transfer their learning to new domains, a skill required to function effectively in society (Reich, 1993).

  6. Assessment of PBL • A major weakness of historical and contemporary PBL efforts is the lack of formal student evaluation (Reis & Renzulli, 1991). • When assessment is formally planned, it often does not align well with the objectives of the problem-based learning that preceded it.

  7. Consider This PBL • It is the year is 1876, and Alexander Graham Bell is about to patent his telephone. Provided with Bell?s notebooks, several phone patents, and various electrical supplies and other materials, students design a variation of the telephone, build a working prototype, write a patent application, and present and defend their design and prototype to their peers and a person acting the role of a patent examiner.

  8. Assessment? • In this situation, both instruction and assessment are problem-based. • Some common mistakes are using MC items to assess knowledge gain in PBL

  9. Suggestions • Stress that students are professionals in the field in which the ill-structured problem exists and assess them as if you were their supervisor • Assessment of PBL needs to be as problems based as the question. • Don’t hold off on assessment until the end of the activity or unit; model real-world behavior, in which ongoing assessment occurs • Provide reasonable guidelines regarding your expectations for the students • A single path to the solution of a real world ill-structured problem rarely exists, whether it relates to what scientists face in the laboratory or professionals encounter in the field. • Teachers engaged in PBL should present student expectations before the unit begins so the students will understand their goals and how their progress will be assessed.

  10. The Moon • You and your crew have crash-landed on the moon, far from your intended landing site at the moon colony. It will take you at least one day (24 hours) to reach the moon colony on foot. The side of the moon that you are on will be facing away from the sun during your entire trip back to the colony, unless for some reason it takes you longer than one day to reach the moon colony. You manage to salvage the following items from your wrecked ship: food, rope, solar-powered heating unit, battery operated heating unit, three 70 kilogram oxygen tanks, map of the moon’s constellations, magnetic compass, oxygen-burning signal flares, gun powered by CO2 cartridges, matches, 8 liters of water, solar-powered radio receiver and transmitter, 3 flashlights and extra batteries, signal mirror, and binoculars. Which of these items do you and the other two members of your crew decide to take on your journey back to the moon colony? Why is each item essential or useful that you decide to take, and why are the items you decide to leave behind not useful or helpful?

  11. Global Warning • This is a problem stemming from the dramatic increases in global warming gases in recent decades. As an engineer for the Department of Energy, it is your job to write a report discussing the economic and social impact of cutting global warming gas emissions by 10% by the year 2010. What plan of action will be taken regarding the use of fossil fuels in various heat engines(cars, trucks, planes) etc.? The Department of Energy would like this report in one week.

  12. Locating Protazoans • Recent reports have expressed concerned about the quality of waterways and lakes in the Ashland area. As a result of increasing urbanization of the area many feel that the overall life in these water bodies is declining. A research center has asked you to determine the impact of this water pollution on protozoans and to determine whether or not the types and quantity have been seriously impacted

  13. Your Assignment • Choose 1 of the 3 examples and: • Write an objective (SWBAT) for that PBL • Write the NC Standard(s) that align with the problem • Create a rubric for grading possible student responses