Problems as Possibilities: Problem-Based Learning for K-16 Education

Problems as Possibilities: Problem-Based Learning for K-16 Education

Problems as Possibilities: Problem-Based Learning for K-16 Education

Problems as Possibilities: Problem-Based Learning for K-16 Education


We re all learners on life's journey, and often the messy problems we encounter present us with the best education. Researchers are finding that the same concept holds true for students in our classrooms. Problem-based learning (PBL) is an authentic, experiential form of learning centered around the collaborative investigation and resolution of real-world problems. In PBL, students address a problematic situation from the perspective of a stakeholder in the situation. As both a curriculum organizer and instructional strategy, PBL fosters active learning, supports knowledge construction, integrates disciplines, and naturally combines school learning with real life. In this second edition of their book, Torp and Sage offer opportunities to learn about PBL from a variety of perspectives. New to this edition is an in-depth look at assessing education in and through problem-based learning--how to use assessment not only to see what students have learned during the PBL experience, but also how to use assessment to enhance PBL itself. New examples--from elementary, secondary, and university levels--new charts, and expanded graphics enhance every chapter of this new edition. Linda Torp is Chief Education Officer for Success Lab, Inc., in Chicago and facilitator for ASCDs Problem-Based Learning Network. She is a former director at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora. Sara Sage is Assistant Professor of Secondary Education at Indiana University in South Bend. She has worked with numerous teachers at the Center for Problem-Based Learning at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy.


We can't put it together. It is together.

—S. Brand, The Last Whole Earth Catalog (1971)

WHETHER THINKING ABOUT THE UNIVERSE, THE AMBIGUIties of life, or the wonders of learning, educators realize that the whole is so much more than any collection of parts. As they work with learners of all ages, educators constantly strive to create holistic and connected experiences that enable students to tackle the complexities facing them as citizens in a global community, as well as in everyday situations. These experiences should reveal a need to be open-minded and adaptable and should consider the interrelatedness of systems, both natural and contrived.

We journey through life encountering, grappling with, and resolving problems that present powerful opportunities for learning. Ask people to . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.