Wednesday, June 10, 2009

PBL Symposium (Part 2): "What do we know about PBL? Current & future prospects"

[From Part 1]

10 Jun 09 - Keynote speaker A/P Cindy Hmelo-Silver from Rutgers University: What do we know about Problem-based Learning (PBL)? Current & future prospects
Problem Based Learning symposium at Republic Poly (10-12 Jun 09)

Quick notes
(italics are mine):
Key PBL components: Problem, Facilitation, Collaboration, Reflection.

Problems should be something learners can identify with (I think "stranded in school" is better than "stranded on Mars").

Good 'Problems', in the context of educators setting Problem scenarios, are "complex, ill-structured, open-ended".

Some strategies for facilitators e.g wandering facilitator; assign roles to students (hmm... like De Bono's Six Thinking Hats?)

Current status: Despite wide use, there's limited evidence-base. Research mostly in areas of medicine.

Research suggests not all students respond to collaborations well. Quality of collaboration improves over time.

(Implication for librarians who work with teens: Don't expect initial success when working with groups of teams. Of course, the question is how librarians can manage expectations when grouping teens from different backgrounds to work together. And how should Youth Librarians plan ahead if knowing that initial outcomes of group work may not be necessarily positive?)

Gaps in PBL:
  • incomplete descriptions of PBL models;
  • need to look outside medical education (because medical students already highly motivated);
  • assessment;
  • need a common language.

Cindy mentioned the Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning (see

(Twitter hashtag #pbl09w)

[Next: Part 3]

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