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Problem-based learning

Education Achievements

Problem-based learning

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an active, learner-centered pedagogy. Trainees worked in small groups to address conceptual problems while developing technical knowledge, interdisciplinary collaboration, and written communication skills.

Four courses developed by the IGERT employ PBL and are writing intensive. The format follows: A lecture by a faculty member introduced a topic, needed vocabulary, and the spectrum of research activity. Students worked in groups to address PBL questions and then completed modules that required them to help each other find articles and understand underlying concepts. For assessment, each student wrote a concise report to demonstrate knowledge and writing ability.

Trainees demonstrated gains in technical knowledge and skills, use of critical thinking strategies, and effective collaboration skills. Faculty observed that trainees appeared more motivated by PBL compared to traditional classroom lecture-only instruction.