Skip to main content
Sign In

PBL Basics


PBL Basics
Most of the PBL cases will unfold over two sessions. The case is introduced in the first tutorial session and the students generate learning issues that they research and present at the second tutorial session.

Organizing the First Tutorial session

  1. Students and faculty should not give mini-lectures.
  2. All learning issues generated by the students should be prioritized. Everyone in the group should research the issue with the highest priority. Each student should choose one of the remaining learning issues to research before the next class.
  3. Students must post to the Blackboard discussion forum within 72 hours of class, a one-page (maximum) summary of their individual learning issue. The summary may include diagrams, tables, etc. or summaries from books. The reference(s) must be included and in the proper citation format. Students may opt to bring radiographs to class that they have borrowed to illustrate a point. If this is done, an outline describing the films and why they are important is still required.
  4. Students should bring their copies of all the learning issues on paper or electronically so they can refer to them when the class meets to discuss the rest of the case.
  5. Students should be prepared to discuss the learning issues. Tutors should probe students' reasoning process with questions when necessary to promote discussion. If the students start to lecture about their topic, remind them to bring the discussion back to the case. You might ask, "How does this relate back to the patient?"
  6. One student should be selected to be prepared to present the patient at the next session.

Organizing the Return Tutorial

  1. Begin by having the previously selected student present the patient by summarizing the case using the "presentation form" that should include their hypotheses. This gives the students the opportunity to practice “presenting a patient case” as they would with a preceptor or attending.
  2. Tutors will facilitate the review of learning issues and their application to the patient.
  3. Ask students to return to the case and consider each finding again in light of what they have each studied. What do the findings mean now that they know more? What decisions would they now recommend? How have their original analysis of the problem and their hypotheses changed in light of their new understanding.
  4. Begin with a review of the hypotheses generated by the group during the first session. Ask the group to support or rule out each of their original hypotheses using their individual learning issues to support this analysis. Ask the student to specifically tie the topic to the feature of the case that stimulated the question in the first tutorial. Encourage brevity and interaction rather than lecturing.
  5. Consolidate the discussion with a concise assessment of the case and appropriate next steps in an encounter such as this. Have the group answer the study questions at the end of the case. If some questions still can't be answered, one or two students should volunteer to reseach the topic for the group and post their findings on the discussion forum.
  6. Discuss the way in which the group is working together and plan for improvements.