Learning from Dealing with Real World Problems

By Akcay, Hakan | Education, Summer 2017 | Go to article overview

Learning from Dealing with Real World Problems


Akcay, Hakan, Education


Introduction

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional method that encourages students to obtain and apply content knowledge as well as to develop critical thinking and problem learning skills to deal with real world issues (Lundeberg & Levin; 2003). It also provides examples of learning via constructivist-learning environments. PBL activities create opportunities for students to work on perceived problems in their real world of today. Accomplished teachers encourage students to plan projects that are relevant to themselves and to others in the real world outside the classroom. This student ownership helps them to see and understand the connections between classroom activities and the world outside the school. Moreover, problem-based learning is another educational approach that challenges students to work cooperatively in groups to seek solutions to real-world problems and to develop skills to enable then to become self-directed and life long learners (Savery & Duffy, 2001; Chin & Chia, 2004).

All students typically have traditional teaching and learning experiences; they may not have opportunities to identify a problem or issue of personal interest. Traditional models of teaching are typically based on heavily content knowledge. It requires learning facts and memorizing them without letting students to made efficient personal connections.

Every student have so many different interests, it is an opportunity for them to ask questions and find answers to a topic of interest they have always wanted to learn more about. Problem-based learning focuses on personal needs of students, that is, science concepts and process skills that are useful in the daily living of students. It focuses on societal issues, that is, issues and problems in homes, schools, and communities as well as the global problems. Students will see the relevance of science in their life. The National Science Education Standards (NSES) indicate specifically that ideas related to health, population, natural resources, and the environment can provide the foundation for attaining real understanding and the use of such understanding in taking actions in a variety of citizenships roles.

PBL develops students with skills which allow them to become active, responsible citizens by responding to issues which impact their lives. The experience of science education through PBL will create a scientifically literate person. The National Science Education Standards define scientifically literate person as follow;

1. uses concepts of science and of technology and ethical values in solving everyday problems and makes responsible everyday decisions in everyday life, including work and leisure;

2. engages in responsible personal civic actions after weighing the possible consequences of alternative options;

3. defends decisions and actions using rational arguments based an evidence;

4. engages in science and technology for the excitement and the explanations they provide.

5. displays curiosity about and appreciation of the natural and human-made world;

6. applies skepticism, careful methods, logical reasoning, and creativity in investigating the observable universe;

7. values scientific research and technological problem solving;

8. locates, collects, analyzes, and valuates sources of scientific and technological information and uses these sources in solving problems, making decisions, and taking actions;

9. distinguishes between scientific-technological evidence and personal opinion and between reliable and unreliable information;

10. remains open to new evidence and the tentativeness of scientific-technological knowledge;

11. recognizes that science and technology are human endeavors;

12. weighs the benefits and burdens of scientific and technological development;

13. recognizes the strength and limitations of science and technology for advancing human welfare;

14. …

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