EDET 637 Week 7

EDET 637 Week 7 Essential question: What practical structures could we use to implement PBL in our classrooms?

“Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching and learning method in which students engage a problem without preparatory study and with knowledge insufficient to solve the problem…” (Wirkala, 2011). This kind of learning requires students to use their existing knowledge and understanding, and apply that to generate a solution. “Students practice learning rather than merely memorizing,” according to an article called “In the Classroom.” By having students learn through the experience of solving problems, they can learn both content and thinking strategies (Silver, 2004). Problem-based learning is used highly in health care fields, but not so much in education. The reason is because of the numerous challenges teachers experience when implementing PBL (Ertmer, P.A., & Simons, K.D., 2006).

Teachers should implement problem-based learning for several reasons. The main goals for PBL learning are 1) to promote deep understanding of subject matter content while 2) simultaneously developing students’ higher-order thinking (Ertmer, P.A., & Simons, K.D., 2006). One way teachers can implement PBL is by having students work together to identify their learning needs and locate relevant information to address those needs. A great strategy for this is to choose a problem that students can relate to, one that they see all the time and can make connections with; and based on their knowledge of that situation, generate solutions.

When applying PBL, “the students are not only introduced to facts while solving the problem, but they remember them because the facts are no longer a collection of random information–rather they are meaningful and relevant to solving actual problems,” according to “In the Classroom.” Another strategy teachers can use, is by having students discuss and record all knowledge, make hypothesis or working statements, brainstorm a list of questions that need to be answered in order to solve the problem, research and answer the questions. This strategy is great for group work.

 What do I know?  What do I need to know?  How will I find it?  


This simple chart can help students keep their objectives in order from, “In the Classroom.”

The main thing to remember as teachers, is the role you play in PBL, which is to “facilitate the learning process, rather than to provide the knowledge,” (Hmelo-Silver, 2004).


Ertmer, P. A. , & Simons, K. D. (2006). Jumping the PBL Implementation Hurdle: Supporting the Efforts of K–12 Teachers. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1(1).

Hmelo-Silver, C. E. (2004). Problem-Based Learning: What and How Do Students Learn?. Educational Psychology Review, 16(3), 235-266.

W(2002). In the Classroom. Retrieved March 03, 2016, from http://www.cotf.edu/earthinfo/classroom/teachers/FTtopic1.html

Wirkala, C. (2011). Problem-Based Learning in K–12 Education: Is it Effective and How Does it Achieve its Effects? (Doctoral dissertation, Columbia University) [Abstract]. 158.



One thought on “EDET 637 Week 7

  1. You mentioned that with PBL “the facts are no longer a collection of random information–rather they are meaningful and relevant to solving actual problems.” That comment alone would give me the encouragement to try PBL. So often I find students can learn the skill I am teaching. However, once we move on to something else, and either try to come back to it or tie it to something else, they act like it is brand new to them. I think PBL is similar to tying emotions to memories. When something happens that creates strong emotion (happy or sad), we are much more likely to remember it. When learning is meaningful and relevant, students are likely more invested and likely to gain and remember more.


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