Problem-based learning PBL

The goal of nursing education is to prepare nurses who are competent and caring.  Developing competent practitioners is the concern and responsibility of all nurses ( Andrew & Jones 1986 ).  To develop competent nurses, they require to be prepared in a way that they can use problem-solving and clinical reasoning skills in their practice.  Problem-based learning (PBL) is effective in enhancing the problem-solving abilities and clinical reasoning skills of students.
Problem-based learning is an increasingly popular educational strategy.  It has now been applied to many areas like nursing, space, science, community health.
etc.PBL can be best defined as the individualized learning that results from the processes involved in working toward the solution or resolution of a problem   (Barrows, HS and Tamblyn ).

1.  What is problem-based learning ?
Barrows ( 1985) describes " The basic outline of PBL process is :  encountering the problem first, problem-solving with clinical skills and identifying learning needs in an interactive process, self-study, applying newly gained knowledge to the problem and summarising what has been learned".

2.         What are the advantages of problem-based learning ?
a.Development of an effective and efficient clinical reasoning process
b.       Increased retention of data
c          Development of effective self-directed learning skills
d.Increased student-faculty interaction.
e.Increased Motivation for learning

d.         How is the tutorial process conducted for problem-based learning?
The problem-based strategy using the tutorial process is conducted in two sessions i.e. brainstorming and regrouping.  Students meet in small groups of six to eight, with a "tutor" who is the facilitator.  One student takes the role of the group leader who coordinates the sessions activities.  Another student takes the role of the scribe, whose task is to keep track  of the group's process on the board.
Patient problems are presented in a variety of formats like carefully designed printed format, computer format, video clippings etc.
The tutorial group begins with the brainstorming session.  The second session is the regrouping session.
Let us see the steps of the tutorial process as presented in Fig.

I.       First Session :  Brainstorming
i.              Clarify unfamiliar terms and concepts
ii.            Define the problems/issues
iii.           Discuss / analyse the issues identified
iv.           Summarize the discussions
v.            Decide what new information is required to deal with the problem
vi.           Pursue learning objectives individually or together ( self-directed learning )

II.         Second Session :  Regrouping
vii.          Resource critique, re-analysis of the problem in the light of new information acquired, debriefing and evaluation.
When a new group of randomly assigned students meet for the first time, an introduction is done.  The students are asked to introduce themselves to the others in the group.  The others in the group are invited to ask questions to each student or comment on anything he or she might have said.  This helps students to establish who they are and their own importance as an individual in the group.  This will help to enhance the group process as problems of members identifying their own importance  in the group through this, inappropriate  behavior is avoided.

PBL is a very useful method of teaching learning. Research evidence shows this.


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