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Introduction to Problem-Based Learning

Are you looking for a teaching method that will help your students think critically and creatively, apply their knowledge to real-life disciplinary situations, be self-directed and work in groups? If so, Problem-based Learning (PBL) may be your answer. PBL is an inquiry-based, student-centered pedagogy based on current, evidence-based theories of learning. In this session, you will learn the basics of PBL.


At the conclusion of this session, you should be able to begin to:

  • Discuss the pros and cons of using problem-based learning.
  • Discuss the basic format/structure of a “PBL class.”
  • Discuss the role of the problem in PBL.
  • Discuss the elements of a good problem.
  • Discuss assessment as related to problem-based learning.


  • Savin-Badin, M. (2003).  Facilitating problem-based learning:  Illuminating perspectives.  Philadelphia: Open University Press
  • Savin-Baden, M. & C. H. Major. (2004). Foundations of Problem-based learning. Philadelphia: Open University Press.
  • Schwartz, P., Mennin, S., & Webb, G.  (2001). Problem-based learning:  Case studies, experience and practice.  Kogan Page.

For more information, contact the CTE (8-4470 or cte@vcu.edu)

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Virginia Commonwealth University | Center for Teaching Excellence
Last modified: June 20, 2013
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