Tag Archives: PBL

2012 Online problem based learning for PG students: does it deliver flexible skilled professionals or specialists with gaps in their knowledge?

Heidi Probst and David Eddy

Universities must provide us with people with the ability to continually learn, to think critically and theoretically, to be reflective and reflexive, to innovate and break the status quo, and to navigate in the unstable waters of the global economy” David Docherty (Gaurdian 05/05/2012) 

Should educators focus on teaching skills that in ten years of the students working life may become obsolete? While the employability and skills agenda is important, is the overriding responsibility of educators to produce critically reflective, continual learners that are able to innovate and flexible enough to accommodate the changing employment landscape?

Problem Based learning (PBL) is an established pedagogy that uses ill-structured questions to stimulate learning. Authentic problems are posed under restrictive deadlines to simulate real work issues. Knowledge is constructed by exploring the problem and dialoguing about it in small groups. It is argued that PBL succeeds in developing students that can:

  • Define a problem
  • Develop a tentative thesis about the problem and solution
  • Access, evaluate, and utilise data from a variety of sources
  • Alter hypotheses given new information
  • Develop solutions fit for purpose, with clearly explicated reasoning. 

In an online environment it can engage students by harnessing real work issues potentiating the development of inspired solutions that can change practice/services. 

However, as PBL focuses on a small section of the curriculum is knowledge development constrained? Can PBL meet specialist regulatory body requirements? 

This session will be of interest to proponents of PBL and those with reservations about its impact and usefulness; particularly the ability to use this pedagogy with online students. 

Potential questions:

1. If the aim of modern Universities is to produce critically reflective, innovative workers is PBL a suitable pedagogy to employ? 

2. Does it matter that by using PBL the content delivered to the student may be less than that attributed to more traditional methods?

Click for presentation:  Online problem based learning for PG students: does it deliver flexible skilled professionals or specialists with gaps in their knowledge?

C4 – (FU30, FU06, FU08, FU32) 14.20