The goals of problem-based learning Essay
The goals of problem-based learning, 489 words essay example
Every day in common society, people are continuously solving problems. Most of these problems seem to have no specific right answer, or even a criterion for how to reach an answer. By working to solve a problem in these contexts, the individual comes away with a deeper, more transferable and usable understanding of the knowledge they used to solve the problem (Hung, Jonassen & Liu, 2008).
One of the goals of problem-based learning is to create a flexible knowledge base that extends deeper than just the facts. It integrates information from different subjects and requires students to think deeper. This knowledge should be able to be retrieved and applied under varying circumstances. The more flexible the knowledge, the more ways in which students will be able to use it (Hmelo-Silver, 2004). Problem-based learning requires students to become initiators of their own learning and to become problem solvers throughout the process. They must not only redefine the role they have in the classroom, but they also must learn new habits as they transition from being passive information receivers to being active learners (Hung, Jonassen & Liu, 2008).
During the problem-based learning cycle, students form learning issues that they then go and research during their self-directed learning. These learning issues arise from knowledge deficiencies in the subjects related to the problem. In other words, if students do not know about something that is related to or can help them solve or better understand their problem, then they can research those missing pieces and can report their findings back to the group. After the self-directed learning the students can apply what they have learned to their problem and work together to evaluate their hypotheses (Hmelo-Silver, 2004). Metacognitive skills, such as planning, monitoring progress, and evaluating are key to having students achieve the development of problem solving skills and lifelong learning skills. Self-directed learning skills require that students know what they do or don't understand and they must also be able to set learning goals and be able to plan their learning (Hmelo-Silver, 2004).
Many students have reported that problem-based learning was an effective tool in reinforcing their problem-solving skills, finding alternative solutions to problems, improved knowledge of content, enrichment of basic learning and improvement in personal and professional skills. In addition they reported an enhancement in their higher-level thinking and self-directed learning skills (Hung, Jonassen & Liu, 2008). Research has indicated that problem-based learning helps students to become more resourceful and meaningful with their study habits. They are more likely to do their own research with the textbook or other resources as well as to have discussions with their classmates instead of merely relying on what has been taught in class alone (Major & Palmer, 2001).
Widespread results of problem-based learning have been reported indicating its effectiveness in subjects varying from mathematics and science to history and microeconomics. Problem-based learning has been used effectively in all kinds of socioeconomic environments as well as rural, suburban, and urban locations, and among a wide variety