Running head: PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING
Problem-Based Learning: Its Application and Role in Education Joe Student Austin Peay State University
Abstract What is Problem-Based Learning? Problem-Based Learning (PBL) began in the medical field; however, it has been applied to disciplines at colleges and universities, different subjects in the K-12 education system, and a variety of other professions as well. This paper will focus on the usefulness of Problem-Based Learning in the role of education, the driving motivation, and how it will impact the future of educators.
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In PBL, students choose the problem, or topic, they are interested in, thereby increasing intrinsic motivation for knowledge. The teacher then acts as a facilitator, guiding the students through the research aspect of the exercise. During this process, students brainstorm for ideas as to how they will research the question, then they determine the materials they will need, and lastly the students present the results. Cooperative group work promotes collaboration and communication while still respecting the varying individual views of students. PBL helps to encourage students who can understand and interpret higher levels of information.
Currently, educators in public schools have anywhere from 20-30 students in class at any given time (Torp & Sage, 2002). This student-to-teacher ratio creates a “teaching to the middle” approach to instruction, which forces teachers to create one lesson plan for the whole class. The teacher then must try to challenge those students who are at a higher level or those who are lagging behind the “middle” of the class. Students bring such a diverse background to the classroom that this type of teaching will restrict the student’s ability to learn at their individual level. While it is not feasible nor is it physically possible to have a 1:1 ratio of teacher to student, education needs to peak a student’s interest and provide fulfillment in the quest of knowledge for every student (Drake & Long, 2009). Teachers cannot use the same materials and processes that were used in the past and expect students to be successful in the exponentially changing world present today. The accelerating and evolving use of technology has allowed students to become “anytime” learners. As a result, students today can not only access information at school, but can also access information or ideas that interest them at home, or work, due to the mobility of access to the internet using a tablet, smartphone, or other wireless device. Students have the capability to gain new knowledge anywhere. This has created the need for educators to adjust the way that information is presented to the students. Jukes, McCain, and Crockett (2010) stated the focus of schooling will shift from achievement based on age and grade level to the mastery of content and skills. The increased use and advancements in technology allows individual learners to master new content at one’s own pace. Technological advances and availability have made learning more convenient and practical for students by allowing them to learn in a variety of ways, such as online classes. Students can
see the relevance to real world situations when learning is...