What practical structures could we use to implement PBL in our classrooms?
Keebaugh, Darrow, Tan & Jamerson spoke of engaging conversations with students that would get them creating their own questions, and then guiding them through the process of the stages in their research. Choosing a research question that is a current popular issue and that relates to the students’ concerns will help to create interest and engagement. (2009, 122) “…instructors who provided modeling, coaching, task structuring, and relevant feedback or engaged questions, students became increasingly accomplished problem solvers and budding researchers” (118). Chernobilsky, Nagarajan, & Hmelo-Silver also found this to be true. They did a case study with five students and an instructor and discovered that online PBL seemed to help the students evolve and grow as time progressed. The more exposure they had, the better suited to approach the problems individually or in groups. (n.d., 61)
Jones explained the following advantages and disadvantages of the PBL model:
- Relevantly built around community problems
- Relevant to real scenarios with a focus on core info.
- Developing leadership, teamwork, communication and problem solving skills
- Responsible for own learning
- Motivation through real world scenarios
- Deeper understanding
- Construct new learning around what they already know
- Replace traditional teacher with facilitator (no role model)
- Facilitator may feel ineffective
- Knowledge being acquired less organized
- Training facilitators is difficult (newer idea in classrooms)
- Very time consuming to facilitate PBL completely (2006)
There are always advantages and disadvantages to everything we do. When I saw this list I felt that the advantages outweighed the disadvantages easily. It might be because I have more of an open mind to the PBL model, where other traditional style teaching teachers may have a difficult time gaining the concept. They may feel that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages and may be a little less inclined to try.
Solomon states, “When students understand that their work is ultimately valuable as a real problem that needs solving, or a project that will impact others, they’re motivated to work hard” (2003). By giving them real world issues and having the students report their findings to the appropriate officials in the community they see that their work serves a purpose and that they can make a difference.
“The business world tells us that successful employees, managers, entrepreneurs, and leaders in the 21st century economy do not only need knowledge and basic skills like the kind taught in school. They also need to know how to learn new knowledge and skills; to acquire, evaluate and use information from a variety of sources; to work in teams; to solve problems and think critically; to manage complex tasks; and to communicate with a variety of others using a variety of media” (Hallermann, Larmer, & Mergendoller, 2011, p 9).
In the end it is up to us to find a way to implement PBL within our schools. “…teachers will need guidance as they adopt new roles, facilitate student inquiry, provide constructive feedback, and apply new types of classroom management strategies. Students, too, will need to be supported as they learn to develop and implement their own strategies for addressing complex problems and for working with diverse others to negotiate solutions in a collaborative manner” (Ertmer & Simons, 2006, p 41).
Chernobilsky, E., Nagarajan, A., & Hmelo-Silver, C. E., (n.d.). Problem-Based Learning
Online: Multiple Perspectives on Collaborative Knowledge Construction. (53-62). Retrieved from http://www.edu-projects.eu/euclides/elibrary/Chernobilsky.pdf
Ertmer, P. A., Simons, K. D. (2006). Jumping the PBL Implementation Hurdle: Supporting the
Efforts of K-12 Teachers. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning. 1(1), 40-54
Hallermann, S., Larmer, J., & Mergendoller, J. R., (2011). PBL In The Elementary Grades.
Buck Institute for Education. San Rafael, CA.
Jones, R.W., (2006, August 01). Problem-Based Learning: Description, Advantages,
Disadvantages, Scenarios and Facilitation. Australian Society of Anaesthetists. 34(4). Retrieved from http://www.biomedsearch.com/article/Problem-based-learning-description-advantages/188739780.html
Keebaugh, A., Darrow, L., Tan, D., & Jamerson, H. (2009). Scaffolding the Science:
Problem Based Strategies for Teaching Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Methods. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 21(1), 118-126. Retrieved from http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ896251.pdf
Solomon, G. (2003, January 15). Project Based Learning: A Primer. Retrieved from