Stenden South Africa uses Problem Based Learning (PBL) in its courses. In Problem Based Learning, learning is thought to be the process of actively acquiring and processing information that changes the behaviour of the student in a relatively irrevocable way. This acquired knowledge, being of a cognitive nature, may also be of an affective or psychomotor nature.
We have chosen to use Problem Based Learning and CBL (Case based learning) in our courses, as this approach supports our view on learning and requires an active study attitude on the part of the students. Our primary motive for choosing Problem Based Learning is the fact that in Problem Based Learning, the individual student is responsible for what and how he/she learns. An educational system that compels students to study actively is generally more motivating than a system that does not encourage active study.
PBL changes a student’s attitude towards studying in such a way that it may lead to a life-long increase in self-study and personal responsibility. During PBL sessions, students learn that their current knowledge is often not sufficient to address the problem with which they are confronted. Through the PBL process, the students learn the problem-solving processes that will enable them to tackle problems in future (professional) situations.
The secondary motives for choosing Problem Based Learning are:
1. Social motive: Working on Problem Based Learning tasks in small study groups stimulates the development of co-operation.
2. Educational-didactic motive: The Problem Based Learning method ‘forces’ students to develop personal discipline and an ongoing working rhythm.
3. Educational contents and methodical motive: as opposed to the lecture/exam approach in which students often learn only specific significant information, the Problem Based Learning approach stimulates gaining a broad array of knowledge by presenting a carefully chosen problem as a starting point. It promotes the integration of various disciplines. In addition to acquiring knowledge and skills, the PBL session gives the student the opportunity to practice and use the knowledge and skills gained.