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November Issue   

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Problem-based Learning


Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is defined as an instructional method that centers the learning process in solving a problem or issue. In PBL, the work students do in order to solve the problem is what drives the learning process. To solve the problem, students work collaboratively with their peers and with the support of the instructor to gather and analyze information, make decisions, negotiate options and solve conflicts. Building these skills is significant for college students since research shows that today’s employers desire these skills. Therefore, the PBL method can be considered an opportunity for instructors to equip students with the skills needed to face real workplace situations.


How to implement a PBL model in an online course?
It's simple, answer the following questions and we will help you do the rest.

1. What are possible problems that I could use in my course?
Ask Yourself: What complex and real issues are related to my course learning outcomes? What is an authentic problem that encapsulates this complexity?

2. What guidelines can I provide to students to help them solve the problem?
Ask Yourself: What deliverables will students provide, such as: definition of the problem, factors that generated the problem, current trends that influence the problem, possible solutions, pros and cons of the selected solution.


3. Are there resources I can make available that are related to the problem?
Ask Yourself: What videos, articles and web links can I provide? In an authentic workplace context, what resources would people have access to when attempting to solve a problem?


4. What tools can students use to work in teams?
Ask Yourself: How can I harness Blackboard to do this? (Hint: Groups & Collaborate) Are there other communication tools that professionals in my program area are likely to use, and can I feasibly integrate them into my learning environment, or perhaps simulate them?


5. How can peers and I support students in their development during the learning process?
Ask Yourself: How will I make myself available to support the students throughout the process? What peer support activities or guidelines can I suggest that simulate real-world interpersonal activity within this field?


6. What activities can help students develop metacognitive awareness?
Ask Yourself: How do I get students to reflect on the learning process?


The main ingredient of this model is a problem; if you have a problem you have already started the process. If you do not have a problem, do not worry, we will help you figure out one. Remember, we are here to help.



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Dear eLTI

Q: Is PBL appropriate for online delivery?
A: Yes, because research has shown that the mode of delivery does not inherently impact learning outcomes. Rather, instructional methods have an impact, and PBL has been regarded as a powerful one


Q: Can only one component of my course be transformed into PBL?

A: Yes, you can teach the course in the way you have taught it before and transform one small part. Sometimes this is necessary since students need to learn the facts and concepts before solving problems.


Q: Where can I find problems? 

A: If we look around, there are problems to solve everywhere! A few strategies to locate these problems are:

1.      Talk to people in the field and find out what current challenges they are facing.

2.      Check local newspapers or online news websites to find problems related to the course outcomes.


Q: Can a problem be in the form of a story? 

A: Yes, that is a way to present a problem! It has been documented that people have an intrinsic ability to make sense of the world around them through stories.


Q: How to get started?

A: Send us an email and we will help you!


Tech Tips


Groups in Blackboard

Available Features to Save You Time

Digi' you know, you can save on prep time and emphasize collaboration by using the Groups tool.


There are a variety of ways for groups to be formed: student self-enroll, system generated, or manual enroll by the instructor. Cut down on marking time by linking groups with Assignments. Click here to learn more.



Additional Resources


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