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Problem Based Learning

Problem based learning (PBL) is the method of learning that based on the problems so
the students are asked to solve the problems; learning method that involves students to solve the
problem (Yuliana & Firmansah, 2018); pedagogic approach that allows students to actively
engage in learning with a meaningful problem, and collaborative conditions, making mental
models for learning and the habit for independent learning through practice and reflection (Yew
& Goh, 2016); an instructional method where relevant problems are introduced at the beginning
of the instruction cycle and used to provide the context and motivation for the learning that
follows (Michael, 2004 in Argaw, Haile, Ayalew, & Kuma, 2017); learning method through
which the learners gain and develop upper level skills such as problem solving and critical
thinking while eliciting information from personal real life experiences and acquiring
determinate knowledge about their own learning (Wadani, 2014 in Ceker & Ozdamli, 2016).

PBL has been widely adopted in various fields and educational contexts to develop
critical thinking skills and solve the problems in authentic learning situations (Yew & Goh,
2016). PBL is an instructional method aimed at preparing students for real-world settings. PBL
enhances students’ learning outcomes by promoting their abilities and skills in applying
knowledge, solving problems, practicing higher order thinking, and self-directing and reflecting
their own learning with requiring students to solve problems as the main format of instruction,
(Hung, 2013). PBL is a method that requires learners to work in groups (Ceker & Ozdamli,
2016). This definition requires active and usually collaborative or cooperative conditions
(Argaw, Haile, Ayalew, & Kuma, 2017) and learners learn to work collaboratively to find
solutions for real-life problems (Chagas et al., 2012; Wiznia et al., 2012 in Ceker & Ozdamli,
2016). It involves a significant amount of self-directed learning on the part of the students
(Michael, 2004 in Argaw, Haile, Ayalew, & Kuma, 2017). So, in PBL is student-centered
approach, teachers as “facilitators rather than disseminators,” and open-ended problems.

PBL is effective teaching and learning approaches, especially when aimed at long-term
knowledge retention. The effectiveness of PBL generally shown that students who learning used
PBL for short-term have the results same or less learning outcomes compared to the students
who used PBL in the long-term. Strobel and Van Barneveld (as cited in Yew & Goh, 2016)
conducted the effectiveness of PBL and found that PBL is more effective if the learning
outcomes are focused on long-term retention, performance-based assessment, and also
knowledge and abilities.

The steps of this method (Rubiah, 2016) are (1) appearing a problem and ensuring that
the problem is contextual; (2) organizing the subject toward the problem; (3) giving the students
responsibility to conduct the learning process; (4) making small groups; (5) asking the students
to present what they have learnt. Problem Based Learning (PBL) has a crucial role for the
students in the process of exploring important and meaningful questions, investigating a problem
solution, and developing a deep-integrated understanding of content and process (Frank, Lavy, &
Elata, 2003; Hmelo-Silver, 2004).

There are some advantages and disadvantages of using PBL. The advantages of PBL for
teachers and learners according to Ceker & Ozdamli (2016, as cited from Kumar & Rafaei, 2007;
Utecht, 2003; Cheong, 2007; Hung, 2013; Seng, 2012; Guzelis, 2006; Klegeris & Hurren, 2011)
can be listed as follows:

1. PBL allows learners to take the responsibility of their own learning

2. Group projects allow learners to develop their adequacy in teamwork
3. Individual homework allows advanced students to display their highest performance,
leadership attempts, and creativity

There are some disadvantages of PBL in teaching and learning based on Ceker &
Ozdamli (2016, as cited form Jones, 2006; Tatar, Oktay, Tuysuz, 2009):
1. Difficulties for teachers in using PBL
2. Difficulties for students in using PBL
3. Less knowledge acquired through PBL
4. More time required for students.

Yuliana & Firmansah, F. (2018). The Effectiveness of Problem-Based Learning with Social
Media Assistence to Improve Students’ Understanding towards Statistics. Journal of
Mathematics Education. 7(2).

Yew, E.H.J. & Goh, K. (2016). Problem-Based Learning: An Overview of Its Process and
Impact on Learning. Health Professions Education. 2, 75-79.

Argaw, A.S., Haile, B.B., Ayalew, B.T., & Kuma, S.G. (2017). The Effect of Problem Based
Learning (PBL) Instruction on Students’ Motivation and Problem Solving Skills of
Physics. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics Science and Technology Education. 13(3).

Ceker, E. & Ozdamli, F. (2016). Features and characteristics of problem based learning. Cypriot
Journal of Educational Science. 11(4), 195-202.

Rubiah, M. (2016). Implementation of Problem Based Learning Model in Concept Learning

Mushroom as a Result of Student Learning Improvement Efforts Guidelines for Teachers.
Journal of Education and Practice. 22(7), 26-30.

Hung, W. (2013). Problem-Based Learning: A Learning Environment for Enhancing Learning

Transfer. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. 137, 31.