Problem- based learning can be referred to as an approach that enables learners to learn in the context of a real problem. A problem-based approach develops the problem solving skills of the participants while giving them insights into their current knowledge and the knowledge they need to develop.
The core characteristics of problem-based learning can be listed as below:
- a) Problem-based learning takes a student centric approach.
- b) Learning happens in small groups.
- c) The teacher is more of a facilitator or a mentor.
- d) The problem forms the basis or the stimulus to develop problem solving skills.
- e) New knowledge can be acquired through learning that is self-directed.
Let’s look at how a problem-centered approach can help in better learning:
The main benefit of a problem-centered approach is that it allows learners to become producers rather than consumers of knowledge. Problem based learning often referred to as learner centered approach allows the student to conduct a thorough research, integrating theory with practice and applying knowledge to solve a particular problem. Thus, the student is more focused on developing a viable solution by revisiting the basic concepts of various disciplines.
It has also been observed that problem based learning helps in reinforcing the self-reflective nature of leaning. It enables one to sharpen the cognitive processing skills of the learner. Because of the way the problem is structured and the various methods that are used in solving it, learners get to face real world situations.
The communication skills, reasoning ability and critical thinking skills of learners get greatly enhanced when using a problem-based approach. In problem based learning, the learners get to think “out of the box” looking for correct solution which involves communicating with group members while discussing a particular solution.
Lastly, problem-based learning helps in understanding the value of collaboration. In problem based learning, the importance of team work gets emphasized with group brainstorming and discussions and so on with information being shared among the group members. This collaborative approach among group members encourages sharing of ideas and solutions – and invariably a more robust solution emerges.
Thus, problem-centered learning not only helps learners to be collaborators in the learning process but also gets them started towards working as a team towards a common objective. It is therefore not surprising that organizations adopt problem-based training methods as a part of team building activities or training programs. Do share your thoughts on the same.