Enhancing learners' generic skills through Problem-Based Learning

Year: 2004

Author: Murray-Harvey, Rosalind, Curtis, David, Slee, Phillip, Cattley, Georgina

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Claims made for the value of PBL as an effective method for professional education programs draw on constructivist principles of teaching and learning to achieve essential content knowledge, higher order thinking skills and a team approach to problem-solving through the interdisciplinary, student-directed study of relevant professional problems.
These essential outcomes of PBL (knowledge, higher order thinking, problem solving, and effective team skills) are also regarded more generally across higher education as desirable qualities of graduates. The evidence that these qualities are in fact, fostered through PBL is growing but the broader implications (such as the wider impact or more far-reaching effects) of the PBL approach have yet to be examined.

This paper addresses the relationship between PBL and graduate qualities in two ways. First, it reports on a study of teacher education students' assessment of their learning through PBL over time, across four areas of skill development: knowledge building; group processes; problem solving; and, interpersonal effectiveness. Second, the paper examines these specific outcomes in terms of the more broadly defined qualities expected of Australian university graduates.

Keywords: problem-based learning; teacher education; graduate qualities