Special Topics in Education Volume 2
Marygrace C. Cordovilla - Cagungun
Problem Based Instruction
Problem-based learning is a learner-centered approach to teaching
and learning in which the learner learns about a subject through
In a problem-based learning (PBL) model, students engage complex,
challenging problems and collaboratively work toward their
PBL is about students connecting disciplinary knowledge to real-
world problems—the motivation to solve a problem becomes the
motivation to learn.
In problem-based learning, students work together in small
groups to solve real-world problems.
Increases motivation to
Develops critical thinking,
writing, and communication
Enhances retention of
Provides a model for lifelong
Role: facilitate group process
and learning—not to provide
Instructors are able to learn
with students, and find
renewed interest and
excitement in teaching.
Creating strong problems that
lead students to realize the
intended course learning
Unique aspects that define the PBL approach
Problem-based learning is student-centered.
In a PBL course, students and the instructor become co-learners, co-planners, and
co-evaluators as they design, implement, and continually refine their curricula.
PBL fosters collaboration among students, stresses the development of problem
solving skills within the context of professional practice, promotes self-directed
learning, and is aimed at increasing motivation for life-long learning.
Seven steps to PBL
Clarify. The students read through the
problem, then identify and clarify any words
or concepts that they do not
Define. The students work together to
define what they think the problem is.
Analyze. The students discuss the
problem. At this stage there is no sifting of
Review. Students now try to arrange their
ideas and explanations into tentative
Identify learning objectives. The
group reaches a consensus on
Self Study. Students individually
gather information towards the
learning objectives and prepare to
share their findings with the rest
of the group.
7. Report. The students come
together in their groups and share
their results. The facilitator
checks that the learning
objectives have been met.
Develop your diagnostic
reasoning and analytical
Determine what knowledge
you need to acquire to
understand the problem,
and others like it.
Discover the best resources
for acquiring that
Carry out your own
personalized study using a
wide range of resources.
Apply the information you
have learned back to the
Integrate this newly
acquired knowledge with
Project Based Learning
Project-Based Learning is a comprehensive instructional approach
to engage learners in sustained, cooperative investigation
(Bransford & Stein, 1993).
What is project-based learning?
Project-based learning is a
dynamic approach to teaching
in which students explore
real-world problems and
challenges. With this type of
active and engaged learning,
students are inspired to
obtain a deeper knowledge of
the subjects they're studying.
Improved Learning Strategies & Thinking Skills: learning to
learn, life-long learning, active learning and cooperative
High Standards for All Learners
Changing Roles and Increasing Participation: students as
teachers, teachers as coaches, parent and community
What makes a good project?
Purpose. Is the project personally meaningful?
Time. Sufficient time must be provided for learners to think
about and plan.
Complexity. The best projects combine multiple subject areas
and call upon the prior knowledge and expertise of each student.
Connected. During great projects students are connected to
What makes a good project?
Access. Students need access to a wide variety of concrete
and digital materials anytime, anyplace.
Shareable. Students need to make something that is
shareable with others.
Novelty. Few project ideas are so profound that every child
needs to engage in its development in every class.
(by Gary Stager, Ph.D.)
Key components of Project-Based
Multiple expression modes
Emphasis on time management
Benefits of Project-Based Learning
Increased attendance, growth in self-reliance, and improved attitudes
toward learning (Thomas, 2000)
Academic gains equal to or better than those generated by other models,
with students involved in projects taking greater responsibility for their own
learning than during more traditional classroom activities (Boaler, 1997;
SRI, 2000 )
Opportunities to develop complex skills, such as higher-order thinking,
problem-solving, collaborating, and communicating (SRI, 2000)
Access to a broader range of learning opportunities in the classroom,
providing a strategy for engaging culturally diverse learners (Railsback,
Boaler, J. (1999, March 31). Mathematics for the moment, or the millennium?
Thomas, J.W. (1998). Project-based learning: Overview. Novato, CA: Buck Institute
Railsback, J. (2002). Project-based instruction: Creating excitement for learning.
Portland, OR: Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.