How Can Problem-Based Learning Be Used in the Classroom?

Problem-Based Learning Be Used in the Classroom

There was a time when classrooms were a place where students learned different concepts while sitting in straight lines.

They just needed to listen to the teacher’s lecture and process things independently.

Are you from that era? If yes, then you seem to be very lucky.

Because it was when educators interacted with their learners more and made education fun.

Nowadays, to get that excitement and perception back in students, a famous teaching method called Problem-Based Learning (PBL) has been introduced in schools.

Initially, the formulation of problem-based learning was for imparting medical education.

But with time, its application can be seen in other areas of vocation.

PBL signifies a learning approach that brings together a big group of learners to decipher a problem connected to the real world.

This teaching technique is different from traditional-based education in many aspects as it includes several elements such as research, hands-on adventures, and an explanation of the problem in the presentation form.

Doesn’t it appear to be fun?

Let us read how this learning approach gets implemented in the classroom in detail.

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Implementation Of Problem-Based Learning In The Classroom

PBL aims at strengthening assessment procedures, writing retrieval within a group environment.

Its tutoring process involves serving the needs of learners bifurcated in small groups.

Every learner assumes one role within a group that focuses on constructing reflection and reasoning skills.

For the successful implementation of PBL, your teaching role needs to get shifted from the traditional standard to a sequential and linear standard.

Moreover, the instructor should provide the environment to the students so that they effectively apply their understanding to solve allotted problems.

Concerning the above, the implementation procedure of problem-based learning is as follows:

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Stage 1: Formulation Of Learning Outcomes For Problem- Based Learning

The first stage involves the development of learning outcomes that students explore with the help of educators’ instructions and guidance.

The taxonomy of Benjamin Bloom concerning problem-based learning proposes a framework for classifying academic goals that learners achieve as education progresses.

Furthermore, this step includes the development of essential study materials which students need to be reviewed for solving allotted problems.

After that, educators also assemble formative and summative assessments to assess learner understanding.

Educators can use self or peer-evaluation forms, reflection, or writing samples as potential PBL assessment procedures.

Likewise, in this phase, with the help of a contextual teaching-learning approach, educators associate subject matter or content to situations of the real world.

That enables learners to construct relationships between previous understanding and its requisitions to the lives of their family members, citizens, and the whole world.

Furthermore, through this, students’ attention gets directed towards the problems that occurred in the naturalistic environment.

Stage 2: Inspection and Preparation of Project Materials and Resources For PBL

Every project of PBL has numerous elements that need extreme attention.

In this stage, the educator plans well in advance how the execution of the PBL session takes place.

For this, educators need to do the following tasks:

  • Examine the PBL Project

Educators must assess how the students understood the content before allocating a PBL project.

For a good understanding, the educator needs to give additional readings or points to students.

Another consideration is the time restriction.

As per the students’ previous experience in the activity, the educator allocates the time.

The time can be one weekend, five sessions, or five weeks.

  • Decide Human Resources

There are two types of human resources engaged in such kinds of projects.

First, the educator can get help from practitioners related to the commodities of different projects.

Second, educators call upon proficient consultants’ expertise in issues presented in the project.

Educators can also use videotape recordings of consultants expressing their adventures about the problem they already experienced.

  • Organize Project Materials and Physical Environment

When the educator prepares the above, the next is to organize the various handouts, readings, and materials for the project.

The steps involve not only the organization of paperwork but also involve the preparation of the physical environment.

A proper classroom environment consisting of a room with furniture arranged for small group work is optimal.

It also involves the availability of materials like marking pens, flip charts, and tape, a camcorder for videotaping, or a computer lab.

Stage 3: Preparation Of Students For PBL Project

This stage involves the development of PBL groups or project teams.

Some educators allow learners to self-select their teams, required books, and learning techniques.

On the other hand, some educators allocate students to different groups themselves.

This method is similar to a life-like workplace where you need to act with all kinds of folk.

It is that point where educators focus on keeping the group size between four to six individuals.

Large groups can be helpful for complete utilization of the resources allotted and locates learners in numerous roles.

But to gain maximum participation of learners in learning activities, the group size must not exceed six.

Educators can also form groups keeping in view group dynamics by using the Personal Style Inventory Of Myers-Briggs.

It is an inventory used for recognizing learners’ personality combinations.

While using this, students are asked to specify their personality type.

Through this observation, they get added to different groups.

Stage 4: Introduction Of PBL In Traditional Classroom

In the introduction of the project, the educator must give students a curtain-raiser about the expectations of the project.

It aims to convey to students the essential knowledge and scaffold to work by themselves.

The educator should uphold supervision over the aids until groups have formed so that teams get time to evaluate the venture specifications.

The next suggestion educators must let students prepare project plans.

The instructor can guide team leaders upon project planning and formulate a written copy of their project plan.

Another thing educators need to do is to provide a time arrangement for the facilitation of the project.

For this, the instructor guides the team leaders to develop a plan keeping in view the time constraint allotted.

During PBL execution, the educator needs to encounter the work, which is going on according to the strategy suggested.

Also, the educator needs to observe the group activities about gathering data and conducting research.

That data can be beneficial for giving formative feedback to students regarding PBL projects.

Furthermore, this feedback also enhances the educators’ belief in the rightfulness of teaching.

Stage 5: Execution of PBL Projects

After brainstorming sessions about PBL projects, it is time to execute the project by the students.

The execution of PBL projects involves two steps:

  1. Formulation of Research Hypotheses or Inferences
  2. Presentation of Findings By Learners

Let’s read about them in detail:

  • Formulation of Research Hypotheses

In this stage, learners determine their background knowledge about the problem.

Then, they try to know about issues they need to research.

Later on, they look upon databases to get more information.

Similarly, learners decide about roles and responsibilities for each member to understand the problems thoroughly.

Based on an understanding of problems, they develop hypotheses for testing.

  • Presentation of Research Findings

After hypotheses, learners conduct research and try to find solutions to problems allotted.

Then comes the presentation part, where students establish commodities and demonstrations to synthesize their study, outcomes, and understanding.

The layout of the summative appraisal is entirely up to the educator.

Treat this phase as a research fiesta.

Through this phase, pupils discover aids to develop a prior understanding that educates their further knowledge.

And accordingly, they collaboratively present their outcomes in the form of feasible solutions to the remaining class.

Stage 6: Assessment And Evaluation Of PBL Projects

The assessment step involves the assessment of students’ performances by using rubrics.

Rubrics help determine whether students’ solutions are feasible or not, how they have used the resources, and assess whether all fellows contribute meaningfully.

Feedback compilation from the learners can be taken verbally from debriefing and in writing forms such as Talkback Sheets and Reflective Essays.

In debriefing, learners provide insights about personal experiences gained from the project.

While the Talkback Sheets give a supplementary basis of feedback to the educator relating to the project.

You can even ask learners to reply to these queries anonymously.

These sheets are advantageous in knowing the achievement of objectives laid down while planning.

Reflective essays consist of writing two-page essays about findings and understanding by the learners.

These sheets and essays provide a realistic evaluation of problems so that necessary modifications in the strategy can be created.

Likewise, these resources help record notes for future reference.

These are the stages through which PBL can be implemented in classrooms.

The cyclical approach involves the formulation of groups that develop hypotheses to study the problem.

Then, these groups research various aspects to know whether the hypotheses framed are feasible.

Then, they finally jump into the conclusion phase, discussing the findings and outcomes with the other student’s group.

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Long Story In Short

Problem-based learning is unique from the case-based learning approach.

That is why, for successful implementation of this category of education, the environment should be receptive and generous.

Moreover, conscious efforts and attention on the design of subject matter, logistics, and the development of support groups also play an essential role.

Likewise, the aim of PBL is not only confined to attaining the self-directed knowledge of learners.

But also on making the students capable of surviving in the real world.

So, in PBL, the educator needs to act as a facilitator or guide.

And precise awareness should be upon the innovation of this hierarchy and assistance of the learning environment.

In the absence of the above aspects, the PBL will cease to function and achieve its potential.

If you have any questions about problem-based learning, feel free to comment below.

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