Problem Based Learning (PBL)

Hello all,

A while back i was attending a certification workshop for PBL use in the Classroom. I was one of two student affairs professionals in a room full of faculty. It was a very interesting session and it was helpful to have faculty there providing their examples as well as grappling with how to write an effective PBL.

For those of you who have not had experience with PBL, Wikipedia has the simplest explanation.

Compliments of Wikipedia (October 10th, 2011)

“Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject in the context of complex, multifaceted, and realistic problems

Characteristics of PBL are:

  • Learning is driven by challenging, open-ended, ill-defined and ill-structured problems.
  • Students generally work in collaborative groups.
  • Teachers take on the role as “facilitators” of learning.”

During that workshop I put together this PBL for Hall Directors and veteran Resident Assistants. The focus is on a student who was stopped by the police due to stumbling and open wounds on his knees and hands. This PBL is structured to take place during a 1-1 where the staff member gets the “initial blurb”. From there, they decide who to gather the important information to best be able to help the student. The supervisor then acts as the other people, depending on who the staff member would speak to. For example, if the staff member said they would first go to the RA, then the supervisor pretends to be the RA while the staff member asks them to questions they would ask the RA.

The supervisor goes off the student profile and what they choose to answer based off of the questions. The purpose of this is to give the staff member experience and practice digging through what at-first appears to be a simple issue, and identify the different concerns as they uncover the complexities.

This PBL is in draft form and has not been used yet, but I plan on testing it out this semester with a Hall Director. Overall, it was an interesting session and it was great working with faculty on putting this together. Attached are the drafts of the PBL including learning outcomes, an outline, and second part to try out later. The second attachment is a draft of a rubric for each of the learning outcomes.

Any feedback on how this draft can improved or how others have used PBL’s in training would be appreciated!


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