Strategies for Implementing Problem-based Learning in Classrooms

Away from the traditional teaching pattern, problem-based learning is a teaching strategy that makes students responsible for their learning process. It involves groups of students working together to solve real-world problems, as it concerns the topic or subject in question. Having discussed strategies for implementing PBL here and since this learning strategy involves both teachers and students, we will discuss its benefits to both parties.

Benefits of Problem-based Learning to Students

  • It helps students develop long-term knowledge retention.
  • Problem-based Learning encourages continuous engagement: Problem-based Learning is one of the easiest ways to keep students engaged by acting as a break from normal lessons and common exercises. 
  • PBL helps students develop transferable skills: Problem-based Learning can help students develop skills they can transfer to real-world scenarios. The world is growing fast, and staying relevant involves having highly sought-after skills. Helping young children develop these skills early enough will prepare them for the future. For example, if they work together to proffer solutions to a problem in school, they may develop negotiation and good communication skills.
  • Problem-based learning helps students develop teamwork and interpersonal skills. 
  • Instead of trying to memorize lessons verbatim, problem-based learning improves students’ higher-order thinking skills, comprehension, and application of knowledge.
  • It increases students’ motivation to learn, find solutions to problems, and identify what is relevant to the real-world. 
  • PBL provides opportunities for students to collaborate, practice, communicate, and develop social skills. 
  • Since this strategy is student-based, they get to understand what it takes and how to learn. 
  • It encourages specificity in learning, as students only focus on the necessary areas.
  • PBL helps students to identify problems and be eager to proffer solutions when necessary.

Benefits of Problem-based Learning to Students and Teachers

Benefits of Problem-based learning to teachers

  • This teaching strategy helps teachers understand students better, as they tend to observe students more during group works.
  • It helps teachers identify loopholes while assessing students’ individual and collective performance.
  • PBL enables teachers to carry everyone along.
  • This teaching strategy also allows teachers to attend to special needs children in the classroom.
  • PBL makes it easier to coordinate the class when you divide them into smaller groups.

Potential challenges

Despite being beneficial to both teachers and students, problem-based learning also comes with challenges that are sometimes difficult to escape.  

  • Implementing problem-based learning requires a change in curriculum. This means that schools have to redesign their curriculum to meet the specific instructional needs of the students.
  • Teachers who are new to this teaching strategy and suddenly realize a need to adopt it will need time to adjust to their roles.
  • PBL is time-consuming and research-intensive. 
  • It increases teachers’ stress levels and sometimes reduces their zeal to implement PBL in the classroom. 
  • PBL might be a challenge to students who do not cope well with self-directed learning.
  • It is cost-effective, as teachers will need to provide students with research resources.


Benefits of Problem-based Learning to Students and Teachers

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