Tutorial on Problem-Based Learning


Steps - Background - Socratic Taxonomy - Brainstorming - Research Plan - References


Find the Problem:

Meet the Problem: The research question is ill-structured in nature and must be thoroughly analyzed by investigation, inquiry and experience before it can be solved.

Frame the Problem: Students will need to collect the "missing components"- information not provided but necessary for a viable solution. As part of this process, students will gather data, hypothesize, prioritize, organize and analyze through methods that include:

More Information on PBL:

Characteristics of Problem-Based Learning

Problem-based learning requires an artful combination of the following components. A skilled teacher/facilitator recognizes the value of each step and takes the time for proper preparation, assimilation, involvement, and development of the outcomes.

The following characteristics have been identified by W. J. Stepien and S. A. Gallagher:

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Problem-Based Learning - What Are the Benefits?

Using PBL as a strategic tool in the classroom entails the development of the teacher as facilitator of learning, the class as strategic learners and problem solvers, and the district as an innovator and embracer of productive, progressive education. Effective PBL strategies will result in the following benefits for the teacher, the classroom, and the district:

Very simply stated, PBL develops students who can:

Problem-Based Learning was first established as part of the education of physicians in medical school and has been an educational institution at Southern Illinois University for over 30 years. Developed by Howard Barrows, this strategy has grown into an instructional approach which is finding success in elementary through high school throughout the state of Illinois and beyond. While its preliminary success has been documented through Illinois Math and Science Academy, PBL is now a prominent strategy in many elementary schools through high schools.

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Potential Problems in Problem-Based Learning



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PBL Socratic Questioning

The Role of Questioning in Problem-Based Learning

The use of open-ended, probing questioning when initiating and perpetuating inquiry into the ill-structured problem is a key component to the success of the PBL experience. A strategy known as Socratic questioning is designed to elicit a wealth of ideas and facts from any group. When using Socratic questioning with younger audiences, considerable patience, coupled with a warm and inviting classroom atmosphere is essential. Socratic questioning promotes synthesis of information into discernible categories of "fact" and "opinion." This strategy will attempt to:

While it is difficult to establish a concrete format for questioning within a variety of circumstances, Socratic questioning includes a taxonomy of questions that may be utilized diagnostically as the teacher/facilitator moderates discussion and verbal inquiry. The categories are as follows:

Even young children can appreciate the value of listening skills and respecting the views of others. Participants involved in the PBL experience must be willing to:

A Taxonomy of Socratic Questions

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