Problem-Based Learning in Higher Education: Untold Stories

By Maggi Savin-Baden | Go to book overview

3
Games of Chess

Introduction

This chapter presents four short curricular case studies that demonstrate the multidimensional nature of problem-based learning within different disciplines and educational environments. The notion of different forms of problem-based learning captured through the image of games of chess was developed through my experience of undertaking research within problembased learning contexts in which there were different curricula models that utilized components of the problem-based learning process in diverse ways. Some of the issues and concerns that were apparent emerged from conflicts experienced by staff and students, which arose from the relationship between learning and prior experiences, the interaction of staff and students, and the association between the curriculum and professional practice. This chapter describes the interaction of competing agendas for staff and students within the four programmes, and the ways in which professional and institutional agendas affected how problem-based learning occurred in practice. It should be remembered that what is presented here must be seen as a number of snapshots of what was taking place within these curricula over a relatively short period of time, and that contexts change and move even as research is undertaken within them.


Research design

The research was undertaken in four distinct professional groups in different departments in four British universities, from 1991 to 1995. Each department had implemented problem-based learning in some way but all differed in their approach to its use. The choice of sites was guided by my desire to explore four diverse professional areas that were using problembased learning in different ways.

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