Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education: Untold Stories

Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education: Untold Stories

Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education: Untold Stories

Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education: Untold Stories

Synopsis

Problem-based learning is becoming increasingly popular in higher education because it is seen to take account of pedagogical and societal trends (such as flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving and critique) in ways which many traditional methods of learning do not. There is little known about what actually occurs inside problem-based curricula in terms of staff and student 'lived experience'. This book discloses ways in which learners and teachers manage complex and diverse learning in the context of their lives in a fragile and often incoherent world. These are the untold stories. The central argument of the book is that the potential and influence of problem-based learning is yet to be realized personally, pedagogically and professionally in the context of higher education. It explores both the theory and the practice of problem-based learning and considers the implications of implementing problem-based learning organizationally."Problem-based learning is contested and murky ground in higher education. In her study, Maggi Savin-Baden clears the thickets, offering a bold ambitious framework and, in the process, gives us a compelling argument for placing problem-based learning in the centre of higher education as an educational project. It is a story not to be missed."- Professor Ronald Barnett

"This is a challenging and very worthwhile read for anyone concerned with the future of higher education, and issues of teaching and learning. The metaphor of 'untold stories' is powerfully explored at the level of staff and student experience of problem-based learning."- Professor Susan Weil

Excerpt

It is Monday morning, 8.45, and the door of the design studio bursts open. Tim and Bill rush over to Jack to tell him that they have cracked the problem scenario. The group have been working on the problem all weekend but struggled, until now, to figure it out. The two who have found a way of managing the problem scenario share their views with the others. The group is oblivious to the tutor until he comes over to tell them that they have got the wrong answer. They are defeated, deflated and distraught that they have worked so hard for no result. Tim remains unconvinced that they are wrong and while the tutor gives the class a mini lecture he sits and works it all out again. At the end of the session, the group argue with the tutor who discovers, through this group, that there are in fact several ways to solve this particular problem.

One of the difficulties today is in writing a book that reflects the complexity of its subject. The students in the scenario above demonstrate some of the challenges for staff and students involved with programmes that use problembased learning. For example, part of the challenge for the students here was in being prepared to contest the solution proffered by the tutor; to value their own perspectives and their own voices enough in the learning process to argue their case. Being able to do this is something that many students who have previously experienced lecture-based methods of learning at school or at college will find complex and difficult. This is because problem-based learning demands of them a sound understanding of the knowledge they have researched and explored, and an ability to critique information. At the same time they are also expected to take up a position towards the problem situation with which they have been presented in relation both to their prior experience and the new knowledge they have gained. Problem-based learning can offer students opportunities to engage with complexity, and help them both to see ambiguity and learn to manage the ambiguities that prevail in professional life. It can also help students to integrate learning across subjects and disciplines and to take up a position towards the knowledge on offer. For staff, the challenges of using problembased learning are equally complex in that they relate not only to issues of . . .

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