An Examination of the Application of Problem Based Learning: A Valuable Tool to Improve Student Learning or a Challenging Teaching Adjustment?

Alex Buckland-Stubbs

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

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Abstract

Pedagogic transitions towards constructivist, student-centred learning models have increased applications of active teaching methods such as problem-based learning (PBL), but little research has explored student perceptions of PBL applications within undergraduate geography curricula. This paper aims to determine whether PBL applications are beneficial to student learning and development; and to determine whether PBL applications such as a migration management case study are suitable for continued use within the undergraduate
geography degree programme at the University of Hertfordshire. This study examines the utility of PBL by reviewing existing education and discipline specific literature and by studying geography student reflections of a PBL migration management activity. The findings suggest that undergraduate geography students are largely receptive to PBL applications and find the inclusion of PBL activities within lectures to be useful and engaging. Although challenges can be associated with implementing PBL into higher education curricula, these challenges can be alleviated by using recommendations for best
practice and it appears that the advantages of PBL applications for student learning and development strongly outweigh initial adjustment challenges. The predominantly positive student feedback demonstrates that the PBL migration case study is a beneficial addition to the geography degree programme at the University of Hertfordshire and that further applications of PBL within the curricula could be extremely valuable for undergraduate geography students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages28-39
Number of pages12
VolumeWinter 2018
Specialist publicationBlended Learning in Practice
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Keywords

  • Problem-based learning
  • PBL
  • Geography
  • Student-centred learning
  • Constructivist Learning
  • Active Teaching Methods

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