Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-driven, constructivist approach to education—pioneered in the medical education field—that supports mastery of information through careful exploration of a specific problem. It facilitates learning of new information within the same context where it will later be used, promoting recall and application of knowledge. It is similar in many respects to the case-based reasoning model of learning. The definition of PBL as a component of medical education has varied over time, and from one practitioner to the next. As a result, it is perceived by many as more of a general educational strategy rather than an explicit curriculum—a combination of teaching philosophies, learning objectives and goals, and faculty attitudes.

PBL was introduced in 1969 by McMaster University as part of a comprehensive ...

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