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Problem-based learning

A process designed to experientially engage learners in processes of inquiry into complex problems of significance and relevance to their lives and learning. It is intended to challenge learners to pursue authentic questions, wonders, and uncertainties in a focused way, which enables them to construct, deepen, and extend their knowledge and understanding. Thoughtful presentation of the problem is critical to this approach. Problems must be complex enough that there is a need to seek many perspectives on the issues, to engage in collaborative inquiry, and to generate multiple possible solutions. The problems have an authenticity that holds meaning for the learners, enables them to assume ownership of the problems, and results in findings of significance in the broader context of their lives. Problems must invite a deep approach to learning – to inquiry, thinking, and reflection – which leads to shifts or changes in learners’ knowledge. At the same time, they leave room for learners to discover that knowledge is tentative, always reflective of a moment in time, and open to continued shifts and changes. (Adapted from: Kridel 2010).

See also ‘Project-based learning’.

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