Problem-based Learning

"PBL, as it is known today, originated in the 1950s and 1960s. It grew from dissatisfaction with the common medical education practices in Canada (Barrows, 1996 and Neufeld and Barrows, 1974). Nowadays PBL is developed and implemented in a wide range of domains. In spite of the many variations of PBL that have evolved, a basic definition is needed to which other educational methods can be compared. Six core characteristics of PBL are distinguished in the core model described by Barrows (1996). The first characteristic is that learning needs to be student-centered. Second, learning has to occur in small student groups under the guidance of a tutor. The third characteristic refers to the tutor as a facilitator or guide. Fourth, authentic problems are primarily encountered in the learning sequence, before any preparation or study has occurred. Fifth, the problems encountered are used as a tool to achieve the required knowledge and the problem-solving skills necessary to eventually solve the problem. Finally, new information needs to be acquired through self-directed learning*. It is generally recognized that a seventh characteristic should be added: Essential for PBL is that students learn by analysing and solving representative problems."

Problem-based Learning (PBL) is a vital component of the University of Toronto undergraduate medical curriculum. Preclerkship students spend up to 4 hours a week in PBL sessions, and variable amount of time researching the learning objectives that the group has determined for that week. One of our faviroute things about PBL, as current students, is its ability to introduce students to realistic scenarios, where physician trainees must think about the disease in the context of the patient. 

The goal of this NEW afternoon session is to introduce attendees to the concept of PBL by way of a student-designed and student-facilitated medical case. Attendees can expect to learn about: 

1. How can you make sense of symptoms from what you know about the body? 

2. How do you come up with a likely diagnosis? 

3. How do doctors work with other health professions to provide comprehensive care? 

4. What is public health and what are some public health measures a patient can take? 

5. How does a patient's social history (including socio-economical status) affect his/her health?

*Attendees will NOT be required to do any research outside of this seminar, unlike PBL seminars employed by medical schools.