Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Study of Problem Based Learning Approach for Undergraduate Students

Academic journal article Asian Social Science

A Study of Problem Based Learning Approach for Undergraduate Students

Article excerpt


PBL approach is identified to develop both problem solving strategies and disciplinary knowledge bases and skills by means of subjecting the students to solve the problem offered to them. PBL is today considered to be unique as it promotes association among students, emphasizes the development of problem solving skills with respect to professional practices, develops effective reasoning and self directed learning. The main aim of this paper is to identify the importance of problem based learning in the form of identifying impact on student motivation by presenting a review of previously published work and arriving at a conclusion.

Keywords: problem based learning, student motivation, undergraduate education

1. Introducation

The characteristic features that are related to the complexity of the modern world is determined to be associated with infinite, dynamic information modification, excessive usage of internet, multimedia and educational technology. According to Nonaka & Takeuchi, (1995) alterations in the labor market has a demand for flexible labor force. Encouraging the increase in number of knowledge intensive work in teams and lifelong learning is also associated with the characteristics of a complex community (Quinn, 1992; Tynjala, 1999).Hence the information community in modern world recommends that the graduates not only obtain theoretical knowledge but also have practical knowledge and implement it to solve complex tasks and operations (Engel, 1997; Poikela and Poikela, 1997; Segers, 1996). According to Chi, Glaser and Rees (1982), several academic research studies have identified efficient problem solvers who have flexible and organized knowledge in order to manage and apply the skills to solve a particular problem or aspect.

The student workload is assumed as a key aspect for designing a curriculum (Kember, 2004).In European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the qualification of a graduate is recommended based on the workload experienced by the student when considered to other aspects(EC, 2005). According to Kember (2004), the student workload can be related to the number of working hours that includes attending lectures, seminars or tutorials, independent and private study, preparation of projects, examinations etc. (EC, 2005). An examination of the workload of the students is vital when considering problem based learning as it enables identification of the possible tasks which need to be set and the time required by the faculty and the staffto complete these tasks.

Mandl, Gruber and Renkl (1996) criticized the educational system and practices as it does not enhance the conditions for developing professional expertise. The higher education system is determined to face a challenge of enhancing and embedding the instructional practices that cultivates in the student the skill to apply knowledge in order to solve a problem efficiently. With respect to the authors like De Corte, (1990a, 1990b); Honebein, Duffy & Fishman, (1993); Tynjala, (1999) recommended the establishment of "powerful learning environments". The powerful learning environments should motivate and encourage the constructive cumulative and goal oriented process in students. De-Corte (1995) suggested that they should facilitate flexible adaption of the instructional support particularly for balancing self discovery and direct instruction.

Environments of such type are recommended to adapt to the representative authentic, real life situations that enable the learners to gain knowledge from personal life and provide chances for distributed and co-operative learning by means of social interactions. Boekaerts (1990a, 1990b) suggests that powerful learning environments should enable the students to achieve and gain the skills related to general thinking and learning that involves heuristic techniques, meta-cognitive knowledge and strategies. De-Corte (1995) recommends for the inclusion of environment in the subject matter. …

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