The University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 1462-1472
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Many educational researchers (Alavi 1995; Barrows and Tamblyn 1980; Boud and Feletti 1997; Bransford, Brown, and Cocking 2000; Hmelo-Silver, Duncan, and Chinn 2007) have established problem-based learning (PBL) as “the total approach” to education – both as a product and a process, from a pedagogical instructional strategy to skills development to assessment. In this study, we provide qualitative evidences on PBL in various professional disciplines namely Medicine, Engineering, Dentistry and Science from educational practitioners in Ireland and in Hong Kong. The evidences were generated by qualitative in-depth interviews with educational practitioners in both countries on their beliefs, knowledge and experience on PBL. Analysis of the qualitative data revealed four factors which affect the effectiveness of the PBL process - the actual problem, the assessment, the students’ pre-college learning culture and the role of the PBL facilitators, including their interpretation of PBL. Given the high level of faculty interest in PBL all through higher education, evidences suggested that training and guideline on problem design, assessment and facilitation must be provided. In addition, comparable and clear understanding of PBL and communications between curriculum developers and PBL facilitators are vitally important to ensure effectiveness in PBL implementation. Findings also suggest that pre-college learning culture is least influential on PBL effectiveness provided that students are given vast opportunities to work collaboratively since the start of their university studies.

Alavi, C. 1995. Problem-based learning in a health sciences curriculum. London: Routledge.
Barrows, H.S., and R.M. Tamblyn. 1980. Problem-based learning: An approach to medical education. New York: Springer.
Boud, D.J., and G.I. Feletti. 1997. The challenge of problem-based learning. 2nd ed. London: Kogan Page.
Hmelo-Silver, C.E., R.G. Duncan, and C.A. Chinn. 2007. Scaffolding and achievement in problem-based and inquiry learning: A response to kirschner, sweller, and clark (2006). Educational Psychologist 42(2): 99-107.
Problem-based learning, skills-development, pedagogical instruction, facilitator.