Elizabeth A. Although problem-based learning (PBL) is increasingly adopted by faculty who teach undergraduate courses, there is little evidence that PBL makes a significant difference in student learning and development over time. Some faculty, who have reviewed the limited assessment evidence, are calling for more assessments to better understand how, when, and if PBL fosters the development of certain types of learning outcomes (Blumberg, 2000). Ideally, PBL should help undergraduates improve their abilities to think critically, analyze and solve complex, real-world problems; find, evaluate, and use appropriate learning resources; work effectively in teams; demonstrate strong written and verbal communication skills; and use content knowledge and intellectual skills to become life-long learners (Duch, Groh, & Allen, 2001). However, there is a dearth of evidence regarding whether PBL helps undergraduates develop these types of outcomes over time. Although faculty often state specific goals for student learning within their own individual courses, it is challenging to determine if students actually gain more advanced skills and knowledge as they complete series of courses within General Education and their majors. The extent of students' cumulative learning is critical to assess. As faculty devote considerable time and energy to implementing widespread change, it is
The Journal of General Education – Penn State University Press
Published: Apr 1, 2002
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