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Problem-Based Learning (updated March 2003)

My school is using problem-based learning. What can you tell me about it?

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an approach that incorporates many of the principles of differentiated curriculum with some of the newer constructivist notions of learning and curriculum development. Students are placed in authentic problem situations in which there is insufficient information to comprehend and solve the problem. The Journal for the Education of the Gifted, listed below (v20, no.4), published a special theme issue on PBL. The first article, by Shelagh Gallagher, can be used as a beginning conceptual framework for the four articles that follow. The remainder of this file includes additional information about problem-based learning.

Following are links to related Internet resources and Internet discussion groups, as well as selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.

You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used



problem-based learning

EJ626388 EC627312
Curriculum Differentiation: Sophistication.
Coleman, M. R.
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v24 n2 p24-25 Spr 2001
Notes: Special Issue: Parenting Gifted Children.
ISSN: 0892-9580
Language: English
Publication Type: Guides--Non-classroom (055); Journal articles (080); Opinion papers (120)
Journal Announcement: CIJNOV2001
This article discusses ways that sophistication can be incorporated into the curriculum to address the needs of gifted learners. Educators are urged to use questions, integrated curriculum, problem-based learning, independent and self- directed study projects, and mentor experiences to facilitate the exploration of ideas beyond the scope of the classroom.
Descriptors: *Curriculum Design; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; Independent Study; *Problem Based Learning; *Questioning Techniques; *Teaching Methods; *Thinking Skills
Identifiers: *Curriculum Differentiation

ED453608 EC308416
Assessing CPS Performance: Practical Resources for Assessing and Documenting Creative Problem Solving Outcomes. Third Edition.
Treffinger, D. J.
Pages: 59
Publication Date: 2000
Notes: Published in cooperation with Center for Creative Learning, Inc.
ISBN: 1-882664-66-3
Availability: Prufrock Press, Tel: 800-998-2208 (Toll Free); http:// www.prufrock.com.
Language: English
Document Type: Book (010); Guides--Classroom--Teacher (052); Test/Questionnaires(160)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Texas
Journal Announcement: RIENOV2001
Target Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
This guide contains 12 practical tools to help educators link instruction in Creative Problem Solving (CPS) with today's focus on authentic assessment. It offers a variety of practical, reproducible instruments and checklists for use in evaluating students' knowledge of CPS concepts and tools, assessing students' attitudes about CPS and their self-concept as creative problem solvers, and assessing and documenting the effectiveness or impact of instructional or training programs in CPS. The book includes resources for use by teachers, group facilitators, and parents to document a wide range of CPS skills and applications. It also includes resources that can be used before, during, or after any CPS application to help verify and document the outcomes or results of the application. The book presents each resource, including a detailed description, directions for use, and where appropriate, scoring information. An appendix includes scoring keys.
Descriptors: *Check Lists; *Creative Thinking; *Creativity; Elementary Secondary Education; Evaluation Methods; *Gifted; Measures (Individuals); Problem Based Learning; *Problem Solving; *Student Evaluation

EJ621397 EC626645
Surfing the Net: Children + Problem Solving = Giftedness. How Can Ill- Structured Problems Take Advantage of a Child's Natural Curiosity?
Berger, S.
Understanding Our Gifted, v13 n1 p23-26 Fall 2000
ISSN: 1040-1350
Language: English
Document Type: Guides--Non-classroom (055); Journal articles (080)
Journal Announcement: CIJAUG2001
This article discusses using a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum to engage gifted learners. The benefits of PBL are described and a list of seven useful Web sites that explain PBL and provide examples of problems that can be used to excite gifted children about learning is provided.
Descriptors: Curriculum Development; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; *Problem Based Learning; *Problem Solving; *Teaching Methods; *World Wide Web

EJ607918 EA537144
Project P-BLISS: An Experiment in Curriculum for Gifted Disadvantaged High School Students.
Gallagher, Shelagh A.
NASSP Bulletin, v84 n615 p47-57 Apr 2000
ISSN: 0192-6365
Language: English
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Descriptive (141)
Journal Announcement: CIJDEC2000
How can high schools counteract deterrents to achievement that disadvantaged students face? "Project P-BLISS: Problem-Based Learning in the Social Sciences" presents "hidden" disadvantaged gifted students with a curriculum that first captures their interest and challenges them to realize their true potential.
Descriptors: *Curriculum Design; *Disadvantaged Youth; *Economically Disadvantaged; Ethics; *Gifted; High Schools; *Problem Based Learning; Student Interests; Thinking Skills; *Underachievement
Identifiers: Student Engagement

EJ553973 EC617590
Problem-Based Learning: Where Did It Come From, What Does It Do, and Where Is It Going?.
Gallagher, S. A.
Journal for the Education of the Gifted; v20 n4 p332-62 Sum 1997
Language: English
Publication Type:Information Analyses (070); Journal Article (080)
Journal Announcement: CIJAPR98
Review of problem-based learning (PBL) finds that innovation is comprised of four elements: an ill-structured problem, substantive content, student apprenticeship, and self-directed learning. Research evidence suggests that PBL is better than traditional instruction on long-term information retention, conceptual understanding, and self-directed learning. Application of the method in classes for gifted students is addressed.
Descriptors: *Educational Methods; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; *Instructional Effectiveness; *Problem Solving
Identifiers: Problem Based Learning

EJ553974 EC617591
A Problem-Based Curriculum: Parallel Learning Opportunities for Students and Teachers.
Boyce, L. N.; VanTassel-Baska, J.; Burruss, .J. D.; Sher, B. T.; & Johnson, D. T.
Journal for the Education of the Gifted; v20 n4 p363-79 Sum 1997
Language: English
Publication Type: Journal Article (080); Opinion Papers (120); PROJECT DESCRIPTION (141)
Journal Announcement: CIJAPR98
Analyzes the use of problem-based learning as a catalyst for developing and implementing curriculum for gifted students that is both challenging and constructivist in approach. It relates metacognition to problem-based learning and describes inservice programs developed for teachers and administrators at the College of William and Mary (Virginia).
Descriptors: Constructivism; *Curriculum Development; *Educational Methods; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; Inservice Teacher Education; Metacognition; Problem Solving
Identifiers: College of William and Mary VA Problem Based Learning

EJ553975 EC617592
Designing Problem-Based Learning Units.
Stepien, W. J., & Pyke, S. L.
Journal for the Education of the Gifted; v20 n4 p380-400 Sum 1997
Language: English
Document Type: Journal ArticleS (080); Opinion Papers (120); Guides Non-Classroom (055)
Journal Announcement: CIJAPR98
This discussion of problem-based learning (PBL) first describes well-structured and ill-structured problems and then offers a systematic process for finding potential PBL topics. The process involves constructing brainstorming maps to explore potential PBL units and then designing the student's role, the situation the student meets at the unit's opening, and assessment.
Descriptors: *Educational Methods; *Problem Solving; *Thematic Approach; *Problem-Based Learning; Elementary Secondary Education; Units of Study
Identifiers: Problem-Based Learning

EJ553976 EC617593
The Problem-Based Learning Tutorial: Cultivating Higher Order Thinking Skills.
Hmelo, C. E.; & Ferrari, M.
Journal for the Education of the Gifted; v20 n4 p401-22 Sum 1997
Language: English
Publication Type: Guides Non-Classroom (055); Journal Article (080); Opinion Papers (120)
Journal Announcement: CIJAPR98
Discusses the tutorial process in problem-based learning (PBL) and how it can be used to cultivate higher order thinking skills. Considers the role of the problem, collaboration among peers, the facilitator role, and the importance of student reflection. PBL principles are applied to instruction of gifted students.
Descriptors: Abstract Reasoning; *Educational Methods; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; *Problem Solving; *Thinking Skills; Tutorial Programs
Identifiers: Problem-Based Learning

EJ553977 EC617594
An Action Research Study of the Effectiveness of Problem-Based Learning in Promoting the Acquisition and Retention of Knowledge.
Dods, R. F.
Journal for the Education of the Gifted; v20 n4 p423-37 Sum 1997
Language: English
Publication Type: Journal Article (080); Reseaarch Report (143)
Journal Announcement: CIJAPR98
This action research study evaluated problem-based learning (PBL), traditional lecture, and a combination of PBL and lecture in an elective biochemistry course at a secondary school for gifted students. Lecture tended to wide content coverage, whereas understanding and retention was promoted by PBL.
Descriptors: *Academically Gifted; Action Research; Biochemistry; Educational Methods; High Schools;*Instructional Effectiveness; Lecture Method; *Problem Solving; Science Instruction; Special Schools
Identifiers: Problem Based Learning

EJ527620 EC614098
This Is a Messy Job, but Somebody's Got to Do It
Pearson, E.
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v19 n3 p32-35 May-Jun 1996
ISSN: 1076-2175
Language: English
Document Type: Journal Article (080); Project Description(141); Teaching Guide (052)
Journal Announcement: CIJDEC96
Target Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Five problem-based learning activities tested by fourth-grade gifted students are suggested. Each open-ended problem is intended to be worked on by a small group for 30 minutes. Student reactions are quoted and analyzed, noting that students became more willing to take risks, test the properties and limits of their materials, and learn from their errors.
Descriptors: *Cooperative Learning; Creative Development; *Creative Thinking; Creativity; *Gifted; Intermediate Grades; *Learning Activities; *Problem Solving; Small Group Instruction; Student Reaction
Identifiers: *Problem Based Learning

EJ504099 SE554172
Implementing Problem-Based Learning in Science Classrooms.
Gallagher, S.; And Others
School Science and Mathematics, v95 n3 p136-46 Mar 1995
ISSN: 0036-6803
Language: English
Document Type: Teaching Guide (052); Journal Article (080)
Journal Announcement: CIJSEP95
Describes how problem-based learning has been adapted for use in elementary and high school settings, including initiating learning with an ill-structured problem, using the problem to structure the learning agenda, and teacher as metacognitive coach.
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education; Science Education; *Science Instruction; *Student Evaluation; *Teacher Role; *Teaching Methods; *Thinking Skills
Identifiers: *Problem Based Learning

EJ503144 EC611226
Problem-Based Learning: A New Approach for Teaching Gifted Students.
Coleman, M. R.
Gifted Child Today Magazine, v18 n3 p18-19 May-Jun 1995
ISSN: 1076-2175
Language: English
Document Type: Journal Article (080); Project Description(141)
Journal Announcement: CIJSEP95
This article describes the use of problem-based learning (PBL) with gifted students, in which the focus of the curriculum is "ill-structured" problems. Particular advantages of PBL with these students include effectiveness in teaching the art of problem finding and solving, active learning, higher order thinking skills, and using interdisciplinary approaches.
Descriptors: Cognitive Development; *Educational Methods; Elementary Secondary Education; *Gifted; *Problem Solving; Teaching Methods; Thinking Skills
Identifiers: *Problem Based Learning

EJ492914 EA530024
Problem-Based Learning as Classroom Solution.
Savoie, J. M.; & Hughes, A. S.
Educational Leadership, v52 n3 p54-57 Nov 1994
ISSN: 0013-1784
Language: English
Document Type: Project Description(141); Journal Article (080)
Journal Announcement: CIJMAR95
Problem-based learning allows students to tackle significant academic subject matter. A Canadian high school social studies teacher energized students by choosing a relevant problem (the changing family), organizing subject matter around it, making students responsible for shaping and directing their own learning, using small teams, and requiring students to demonstrate their learning through a product or a performance.
Descriptors: Adolescents; *Classroom Techniques; Family Problems; Foreign Countries; *Problem Solving; *Relevance (Education); *Social Studies; *Student Centered Curriculum
Identifiers: *New Brunswick; *Problem Based Learning

EJ461126 EA527904
Problem-Based Learning: As Authentic as It Gets.
Stepien, W.; & Gallagher, S.
Educational Leadership, v50 n7 p25-28 Apr 1993
ISSN: 0013-1784
Language: English
Document Type: Project Description (141); Journal Article (080)
Journal Announcement: CIJAUG93
For three years, Center for Problem-Based Learning at Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy has been developing innovative programs in various K-12 settings. Students meet an "ill-structured problem" (like thorium waste) before receiving instruction. Teachers act as coaches and tutors, probing findings, hypotheses, and conclusions; sharing their thinking when students need a model; and calling "time-out" discussions on thinking progress.
Descriptors: Elementary Secondary Education; *Instructional Innovation; *Learning Centers (Classroom); *Problem Solving; *Role Playing; Staff Development; *State Action; *Units of Study
Identifiers: *Illinois

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