Tutorial on Problem-Based Learning
Following the acquisition of the "ill-structured" problem, students need to establish learning issues within the context of the problem. Mind maps (also known as concept maps) and/or know/need to know charts will benefit students in the following ways:
- "Capture" ideas as they are generated
- Organize these ideas in a meaningful manner
- Prioritize ideas generated from class discussion
- Separate "fact" from "opinion"
- Help to establish learning issues and develop focus areas for group work
Rules for brainstorming generally include the following:
- Establish a "starting point" based on the "ill-structured" problem (In this case, "Prairie Restoration/Planting" may be the logical choice.)
- Students brainstorm ideas surrounding the starting point.
- A recorder records responses without comment.
- Items will be categorized and grouped by group consensus (Format A).
- Items will be analyzed as "fact" or "opinion" through group consensus (Format B).
Format A: Sample Mind Map
Format B: Know/Need to Know Chart Adapted from Stepien, Gallagher, & Workman, 1993
After students have completed these preliminary steps, they will determine their research questions. The questions will be derived from the students' analysis of what they know. We expect them to refine these questions as students gather new knowledge and test their initial ideas. Typical questions may be based on discrepant events, incongruities, anomolies or the implied purpose of the initial letter. Students will strive to "fill in the gaps" of knowledge and understanding through their research.
Throughout the brainstorming component, all students will be keeping notes in their journals.