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:


  • 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.

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About Helen Walmsley-Smith

I work in the Technology Enhanced Learning Team that is part of the Academic Development Unit at Staffordshire University. I work with staff across the university to support the use of technology to enhance learning in the classroom and online. I'm particularly interested in learning design for blended and distance learning, and the use of data to support learning and teaching.

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