ERIC Number: EJ1058718
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
Characteristics of Problems for Problem-Based Learning: The Students' Perspective
Sockalingam, Nachamma; Schmidt, Henk G.
Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, v5 n1 p6-33 Spr 2011
This study aimed to identify salient problem characteristics perceived by students in problem-based curricula. To this end, reflective essays from biomedical students (N = 34) on characteristics of good problems were text-analyzed. Students identified eleven characteristics, of which they found the extent to which the problem leads to desired learning outcomes as the most important characteristic. The extent to which the problem stimulates elaboration and the extent to which the problem promotes team effort were considered to be the least important problem characteristics. We clustered the eleven characteristics into two categories, "features" or "functions," based on the perceived roles of the characteristics. Identification and clustering of the eleven characteristics provide a useful basis for future problem design and evaluation. Problems are considered to be one of the three key elements of problem-based learning (PBL); the other elements are students and tutors (Majoor, Schmidt, Snellen-Balendong, Moust, & Stalenhoef-Halling, 1990). Problems in PBL refer to the instructional materials presented to students to trigger their learning processes. Problems are often presented in text format, sometimes with pictures and computer simulations. They typically describe situations or phenomena set in real-life contexts, which require students to explain or resolve the presenting issues (Hmelo-Silver, 2004). The current study aimed to understand which characteristics of problems are perceived by students to be associated with good problems. While it is possible that students and problem designers may value different aspects of problems, understanding the students' perceptions will allow us to gain an insight into what motivates or helps the students to learn so that we can incorporate these characteristics in future problems to determine if students' perceptions of good problems are useful in designing problems.
Descriptors: Problem Based Learning, Student Attitudes, Essays, Biological Sciences, Medical Education, Questioning Techniques, Data Analysis, Student Reaction, Test Items, Item Analysis, Medical Students, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Singapore