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Using Blackboard for Problem-Based Learning
Brian Morgan, Marshall University
When many hear the terms problem-based learning (PBL) and online delivery in the same sentence, they immediately become skeptical
and believe that the two cannot go hand in hand. Problem-based learning (PBL) is defined as a student-centered instructional strategy in
which students collaboratively solve problems and reflect on their experiences (http://www.materials.qmul.ac.uk/pbl/).
The principal aims of implementing PBL are:
To integrate knowledge and skills from a range of multi-disciplinary modules
To acquire knowledge through self-study
To teach students how to work in groups and manage group projects
To improve and develop the communication skills of the students
To develop the problem solving skills of the student
To encourage self-motivation, curiosity and critical thinking skills
Many PBL assignments involve research and in particular, web research. One should seriously consider using PBL assignments within their
Blackboard delivered courses.
Why is Problem-Based Learning Effective?
As a firm believer in problem-based learning exercises, I can attest to the effectiveness of PBL. PBL exercises can be particularly effective
if well structured. PBL exercises involve students in many different aspects of learning and expose them to real-world situations while
learning. Looking at the principles of PBL shows that a student, when exposed to such an exercise, tackles a class project in the same
manner that they will when working in a number of different industries and professions after graduation. For example, I attended a
problem-based learning seminar recently where we were given three sheets of information on a congressman from a state more than
600 miles away. The first t