Problem Based Learning: An Alternative Study Model

Problem-based Learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem found in trigger material (Finkle and Torp,1995). The PBL process does not focus on problem solving with a defined solution, but it allows for the development of other desirable skills and attributes. This includes knowledge acquisition, enhanced group collaboration and communication. This process allows learners to develop skills used for their future practice.

Most of our courses have a PBL at the end of the course wherein students are assessed based on their ability to go through a problem solving process (i.e. an application of the theories). For example, our Cat Psychology and Training course requires students to prepare a business plan as a final requirement.

Is it an effective learning tool? Yes – it can either help the student realize a potential career path or in the case of student R. Hall, it served as a guide in starting her Cat Behavioural business. This later on opened doors to other opportunities such as an ABC article on cat behaviour, where she was consulted!

Check out her (business) website here: