Problem-based Learning Approach

Problem-based learning (PBL) includes inquiry, practice and case-based learning where the focus is on students individually or in groups finding solutions to real-life ‘messy’ problems. The tutor’s role is to support and facilitate learning. this video aimed at students summarises the way that PBL works at Maastrict University:

Examples:

  • Boud’s approach to PBL = presentation of real-life problem, identification of learning needs, research, review solutions to problem and reflect (Boud & Feletti, 1997)
  • Harvard University’s approach to the case method includes group discussion of a complex case or scenario

Further Reading:

  • A range of technologies and tools can support PBL (Savin-Baden, 2007)

The ideas for technology enhanced learning activities below use a range of tools and are based on the Best Practice Principles.

Activities using Visualisers

  • Visualisers will display items, documents etc, on the board.
  • Suggested learning activities that are mapped to the Best Practice Principles are below.

Active Induction

Guided Exploration

Facilitated Investigation

Self-organised Learner

Present documents in classrooms Students participate in interactive demonstration Students use as magnifier or demonstration tool Students share group work output to class

Activities using Smartboards

  • Guide to locations of and function of Interactive Whiteboards is here
  • Suggested learning activities that are mapped to the Best Practice Principles are below.

Active Induction

Guided Exploration

Facilitated Investigation

Self-organised Learner

Tutor displays PPT of activities/content Students annotate image/ content Students use subject specific software for experiment/ simulation etc Students present own project/ content/ video on IWB
Tutor shows video/plays audio of content Students complete quiz Students collaborate on research tasks on board Students use IWB to collaborate on tasks with concept map/wiki etc
Tutor saves notes/ annotations etc and stores on VLE  Tutor demonstrates use of software/tool on board Students create resource to share on board Students create quiz to share with peers on board

Case studies

Activities using Discussion Forums

  • Consider how a face-to-face group discussion might differ from an online one with these notes. Create challenging, engaging discussion questions, debates and activities using a critical thinking framework
  • Assess online discussions using the recommendations and rubrics suggested in these notes
  • Tools for discussion forums include Blackboard and Voicethread
  • Suggested learning activities that are mapped to the Best Practice Principles are below.

Active Induction

Guided Exploration

Facilitated Investigation

Self-organised Learner

Participation in informal forums for peer socialisation and induction Participation in informal forums for peer sharing and support Students use group forum to organise group work/ projects Students set up own forums, to plan and support group work/ projects
 Participation in forum set up by tutor Student selects topic/ approach for discussion. Students moderate discussion and provide summary Students invite/ interviews externals
Students review guidelines for effective learning in discussions Participation in discussion of process of learning through discussion Students explore issues in learning in online discussions Peers discuss and reflect on process of learning through discussion
Students review assessment criteria/ rubric for online discussions Tutor comments on content and process and offers feedback against assessment criteria/ rubric Students comment and offer feedback to peers against assessment criteria/ rubric Tutor provides summative assessment against assessment criteria/ rubric
(Delphi) Each student poses question (Delphi) Each student responds to another student’s question (Delphi) Each student comments on another student’s response (Delphi) Students review and reflect on questions, responses and comments
(Debate) Students read stimulus material and post individual statement (Debate) Students work in groups to agree and post a supporting or opposing argument (Debate) Students post responses to arguments (Debate) Students vote and review conclusions
(Role-play) Students read stimulus materials for situation/ problem (Role-play) Students assigned roles and review context and problem (Role-play) Students, in role, post responses to situation/ problem (Role-play) Students contribute final conclusion and reflect
(Muddiest point) Students read material and add question/ comment on their ‘muddiest point’ (Muddiest point) Students read material and other students’ questions and contribute comments
(BOLD) Students post individual question/ reflection or critique on reading (BOLD) Student teams work together to produce team items (e.g., unresolved, re-written individual items) (BOLD) Teams offers peer critique and tutor offers comment/ feedback (BOLD): Participation in extended discussion with summary

Other Models for Online Discussion Activities:

Case studies

Research