Problem Based Learning : Background Reading for Problem Based Learning

Background Reading for Problem Based Learning

Books and Books Chapters

Barrows, H. S. (1994), Practice-Based Learning: Problem-Based Learning Applied to Medical Education. Springfield, Ill: Southern Illinois University
Barrows book is a classic in the problem-based learning literature. There are many species of problem-based learning today that have evolved from early forms of the method. Barrows’ book clearly and readably presents the basic model and addresses the major issues. This very readable book is an excellent starting point for an introduction to PBL.

Barrows, H. S. (1994). Two common concerns of medical teachers. Springfield, Ill: Southern Illinois University, pp. 83-86, 131-134.
Two of the most common criticisms of PBL is that it fails to cover the curriculum and that it is an inefficient method of teaching. Howard Barrows answers these questions in this brief article.

Tiberius, R. G. (2002). Problem-based learning. In Gilespie, K. H., Hilsen, L. R., & Wadsworth, E. C. (Eds.) A guide to faculty development: Practical advice, examples and resources. Bolton, MA: Anker, pp. 180-192.
Tutors who do not understand the educational principles underlying PBL run the risk of rigid adherence to a particular format. Despite the wide variation in PBL methods across the world most of them conform to sound educational principles. In this chapter Dr. Tiberius describes the principles underlying PBL.

Donner, Robert S. & Bickley, Harmon (1999). Problem-based learning in American medical education: An overview. In J. Ranklin (Ed.) Problem-based learning in American medical education —an overview, New York, NY: Forbes Custom Publishing, pp. 11-18.
PBL is a truly international phenomenon, represented by universities in the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand. Hundreds of papers have been written from these different settings representing different versions of PBL. Authors Donner and Bickley provide a brief overview of PBL from the North American perspective including major features, advantages, and limitations. This article was originally written in 1993 but it was selected, as a classic in the field, to be reproduced in thet “Handbook on Problem-Based Learning” in 1999.

Classic Papers on PBL

Kristi L. Arndt Creating a culture of co-learners with problem-based learning. Teaching Excellence, 14(5), 2002-2003
If you have no time to read anything else, read this article Kristi Arndt has written a brief article on PBL summarizing the outcome literature and framing the procedure within the context of student-centered, life-long learning. She stresses two essential variables that affect the success of a PBL curriculum: tutors understanding of the educational theories underlying PBL and the alignment of PBL with the exam. T

Norman, G. R. & Schmidt, H. G. (1992). The psychological basis of problem-based learning: A review of the evidence. Academic Medicine, 67(9), 557-565.
What are the implications of the literature on student learning for PBL? Geoff Norman and Henk Schmidt reviewed the experimental evidence on differences in student learning attributable to PBL in 1992. This article is still valuable today.

Wood, D. F. (2003). Problem based learning. British Medical Journal, 326, 328-330.
Since January of 2003 the British Medical Journal has included an article in each issue on the ABC of learning and teaching in medicine. The February, 2003 issue of this series was on problem-based learning. It is an excellent summary presenting the ABCs of PBL.

Websites about PBL programs from other universities.

University of Delaware Problem-Based-Learning
University of Maastricht
McMaster University

Where does PBL fit into the UMMSM curriculum?
•At UMMSM Problem-Based Learning is part of student-centered teaching in the Transition Block..