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Problem Based Learning

Overall Objectives

  1. Students shall learn to apply basic science concepts to actual clinical scenarios.
  2. Students shall develop skills in clinical reasoning by identifying medical issues and formulating hypotheses. Students will research, analyze and synthesize data and learn to apply this information to clinical situations.
  3. Student will become self-directed learners and will become familiar with many of the available resources in clinical medicine.
  4. Students will develop skills by working in groups, learning from and, in turn, teaching their colleagues.

Structure of the Problem-based Learning (PBL) Curriculum

PBL uses a multidisciplinary approach, designed to break down the traditional barriers of compartmentalization that are imposed by a departmental structure. The PBL curriculum will consist of eight cases in Phase I and four cases in Phase II. Each case will require two or three 2-hour meetings in small groups of eight to nine students. The cases will be presented in the problem-based learning style, where clinical situations are revealed in consecutive sections. In the first meeting the case is analyzed and learning objective/issues are determined. Students then independently research their learning issues and post their summaries online in a Blackboard discussion forum so that everyone can read the learning issues in advance and be ready to discuss at the next session. For the second session, students return to discuss how they satisfied their learning issues and then are presented with more information and additional problems. These problems help students bring together information that they have learned or will learn in lectures, labs, small groups, and on their own. The tutor will provide feedback to the students on whether the major goals of the case have been covered. At the end of each case, there will be questions that the group should answer to determine if they have learned the case content.