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Understanding Problem-based Learning

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an effective, engaging instructional method aimed at challenging students to “learn how to learn.”

In PBL, students are given directed freedom to pursue their own quest for understanding. Students use a variety of skills and processes to evaluate a real-world question or problem.

A student presentationStudents focus on inquiry -- researching, investigating, collecting data, interviewing, and adapting information while discussing and developing solutions with their peers in a cooperative learning environment. PBL is designed to engage students' curiosity and to peak their interest in a given subject matter by providing them with an authentic educational experience.

Since PBL is a learning experience, students often adopt the research question or problem as their own, causing a marked increase in knowledge retention, as well as personal motivation.

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