Michelle Nam, Nik Pontasch, Becky Odajima

The Problem-Based Learning model an active learning model that allows students to learn and hone problem-solving skills, develop competence with academic content standards, and realize the relevance of applying content they are learning for practical purposes. In the Problem-Solving Model students start with a problem.

The model is most effective for teaching students how to solve authentic problems; developing critical-thinking, cooperative and social skills, and fostering self-directed learning.  The Problem-Based model can be time consuming so teachers should examine their curricular goals and students' needs to determine when the model might be best applied.

The Problem-Based Learning model is thoroughly suited for differentiation.  Problem-Based Learning can be very open ended, structured in different ways for different students, and incorporated more or less by teacher scaffolding and assistance. Technology can be helpful in the PBL model in assisting the teacher in planning, implementing, assessment, and can be helpful for students as they work with the model.

PBL History

The Problem-Based Learning model has its roots in medical education. The model was first introduced in the 1950s by faculty at Case Western Reserve University.  Faculty were attempting to find ways to allow students to apply professional skills and knowledge in real world situations. The methodology was officially adopted by Canada‚Äôs McMaster University to train their aspiring physicians. The model spread and was adapted for not only complete curriculum usage, but also more limited or short-term use for individual units or lessons.

PBL Process

Present or Identify the Problem

Develop Plan for Solving Problem

Implement the Plan

Evaluate the Implementation


The Problem

In an effort to make our learning community as dynamic as the world around us, Sunshine ISD has just adopted a new Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) POLICY for their campuses and classrooms. Principal Talbert has asked each department to brainstorm and develop guidelines and expectations for the new learning environment. As a department, prepare expectations for students and teachers in the new BYOD setting. Bring your collaboratively designed guidelines to the next faculty meeting where we will discuss and then adopt expectations for the campus. Be prepared to provide support and/or explanation for your constructed guidelines.

Develop the Plan

-In your cooperative group choose a facilitator, time keeper, materials manager, spokesperson.

-The group will develop expectations for BYOD use in the classroom.

-You have 10 minutes to research or discuss among your group the challenges and advantages of the BYOD environment. All group members should assist in finding resources/links to support your expectations.

-You will then have 10 minutes to share your independent findings with the group and collaborate on department expectations.  You will produce a written summary of your ideas on the new classroom environment.  Record your summary on the Post It.

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Implement the Plan

-During this step you will present your expectation ideas to the faculty (larger class group).

-Your group will have 3-5 minutes to present your plan.

(Ideally students would test out or implement their plan, however the actual implementation of the plan may not take place for a while or the problem may be a hypothetical one.)

Evaluate the Implementation

In this step students examine the plan they devised and its implementation to determine its effectiveness and/or accuracy.

Guiding Questions:

Can we identify patterns in our independent expectations?

What are the most important details?

Are there non-negotiable items?

Are there items that still need to be addressed?

QaWill this plan become dated?

After hearing all department's ideas are there still missing steps that must be addressed?

Google Doc of Campus Wide BYOD Expectations


Kilbane, Clare R., and Natalie B. Milman. "The Problem-Based Learning Model." Teaching Models: Designing Instruction for 21st Century Learners. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.

Problem Based Learning Slide Share