Editorials

Problem based learning

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39546.716053.80 (Published 01 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:971
  1. Diana F Wood, director of medical education and clinical dean
  1. 1University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge CB2 2SP
  1. dfw23{at}medschl.cam.ac.uk

    Time to stop arguing about the process and examine the outcomes

    Problem based learning was developed in the late 1960s and has been the most influential innovation in medical education during the past 40 years. Essentially, problem based learning is a small group teaching method that combines the acquisition of knowledge with the development of generic skills and attitudes. Educationally, it is theoretically grounded in adult learning theory and constructivism and is predicted to produce a better learning environment and improved outcomes in terms of graduate knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

    Implementation of problem based learning requires fundamental changes in the way educators conceive, design, deliver, and assess the curriculum.1 Despite the cost and resource implications, problem based learning has been introduced to varying degrees throughout the world—for example, it is used in most medical schools in the United States and many new medical schools in developing countries. Given this wide scale adoption, why is problem based learning still a controversial topic? The …

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