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What is Problem Based Learning?

Problem-based learning  (PBL) is a student-centered approach in which students learn about a subject by working in groups to solve an open-ended problem.


This problem is what drives the motivation

and the learning. 

Components of PBL:

  • Working in teams.

  • Managing projects and holding leadership roles.

  • Oral and written communication.

  • Self-awareness and evaluation of group processes.

  • Working independently.

  • Critical thinking and analysis.

  • Explaining concepts.

  • Self-directed learning.

  • Applying course content to real-world examples.

  • Researching and information literacy.

  • Problem solving across disciplines.

  • Creativity and innovation.


An example of PBL:


“What is the best design for grow beds in an aquaponics system?”


These students needed to go through the steps of research, design, experimentation, problem solving, and eventually implementing their ideas. This is taken one step further when they traveled to another school to provide consultation to the other school on starting an aquaponics program.

Additional information, click below:

Center for Teaching Innovation at Cornell University

See PBL in action!

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