What is problem-based learning

Barrett, Terry, Mac Labhrainn, I. and Fallon, H. (2005) What is problem-based learning. In: Emerging Issues in the Practice of University Teaching and Learning. UNSPECIFIED, pp. 55-66.


Problem–based learning has been the one of the most important recent developments in the; university education of the professions (Boud and Feletti 1977). It started with medical education; in North America and has spread across the globe and across most disciplines. Its potential to develop; student learning has not been exploited in higher education (Savin-Baden 2000). Students; report that problem–based learning is fun (The Irish Times 2002). So, what is problem–based; learning?; This introduction to problem–based learning will give an overview of problem–based learning; by answering some of the questions, which I am often asked when facilitating PBL staff development; initiatives. It aims to encourage you to explore the idea of using or not using PBL in your; teaching. It highlights areas of research you may be interested in considering.; I was course co-ordinator of the Postgraduate Diploma in Third Level Learning and Teaching; at the Dublin Institute of Technology. This course was a problem–based learning course. The; lecturers became problem–based learners for the year. I have worked as an education developer; in a number of universities facilitating academics to plan and implement PBL initiatives. I have; worked with staff across a range of disciplines including physics, computer science and speech; and language therapy.; Based on my experience as a PBL curriculum designer, programme leader, tutor, education; developer, consultant and researcher I will give a brief overview of some questions abou

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