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Problem Based Learning

Updated on March 25, 2011


What is Problem-based learning? 

Problem-based learning is a new teaching concept. It was meant earlier for higher grades but now it is being used from Pre School or KG level. It involves problems which are often open ended and confusing and students are made to work in groups to solve them. The role of a teacher is very negligible in this method of teaching, he only facilitates the students. Students are for responsible for all the activities. They are to organise their groups and direct them too. Tutor or teacher only help or support them. The method is very helpful and beneficial for the content based information learning and enhances the communication skills along with learning skill.

Process of problem based learning

Motivation based on inquisitiveness is the basic impetus of this learning process which is always related to presentation of a relevant problem. Students are arranged or divided in small groups and a tutor is employed to supervise them who work as facilitator only. A theoretical or a realistic problem is assigned in successive sections. The students work on it inquire about the information required for the solution and understanding of the problem. It is always kept in mind that the problems should resemble the real life situation. The learners discuss it define it and deduce the goals for arranging their work. Afterwards the results are presented and discussed. The students apply their results and solve the given problem. Teacher does not help in solving the problem but only direct the students whenever they deviate from the track of finding the solution. He does not share his knowledge before the problem is solved. Tutors give only their feedback about the working of the groups and individual students after examining the results.

1-Group formation

Group formation is the first and foremost step of this learning. Students are grouped to take responsibility of the certain part of the problem.

2- Initial analysis of the problem.

The second step in the process of problem based learning is the analysis of the problem.

3- Activation of prior knowledge

When the students have recognised and analysed their problem well they activate their prior knowledge through small-group discussion. They exchange their views in the light of their previous knowledge of the issue and discuss the various aspect of the problem. In this way they find a direction and start their journey to the solution of the constructive problem.

4- Elaboration

Elaboration of the problem makes it easier to solve. The students under the instructions of their facilitator do it on the basis of prior knowledge and active processing of new information.

5- Restructuring old and new information

After discussing the problem completely and processing the information the students restructure their knowledge. They include the new information in their prior knowledge.  They construct a semantic network and learn in the given circumstances or situation.


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