Advantages to Problem-Based Learning

There are advantages of PBL. It is student-focused, which allows for active learning and better understanding and retention of knowledge. It also helps to develop life skills that are applicable to many domains. It can be used to enhance content knowledge while simultaneously fostering the development of communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and self-directed learning skills. PBL may position students to optimally function using real-world experiences. By harnessing collective group intellect, differing perspectives may offer different perceptions and solutions to a problem. Following are the advantages and limitations of problem-based learning.

Fosters student-centred learning
In problem-based learning the students are actively involved and they like this method. It fosters active learning, and also retention and development of lifelong learning skills. It encourages self-directed learning by confronting students with problems and stimulates the development of deep learning.

Upholds lifelong learning
Problem-based learning gives emphasis to lifelong learning by developing in students the potential to determine their own goals, locate appropriate resources for learning and assume responsibility for what they need to know. It also greatly helps them better long term knowledge retention.

Prominence on comprehension not facts
Problem-based learning focuses on engaging students in finding solutions to real life situations and pertinent contextualized problems. In this method discussion forums collaborative research take the place of lecturing.

In-depth learning and constructivist approach
PBL fosters learning by involving students with the interaction of learning materials. They relate the concept they study with everyday activities and enhance their knowledge and understanding. Students also activate their prior knowledge and build on existing conceptual knowledge frameworks.

Augments self-learning
Students themselves resolve the problems that are given to them, they take more interest and responsibility for their learning. They themselves will look for resources like research articles, journals, web materials etc. for their purpose. Thus it equips them with more proficiency in seeking resources in comparison to the students of traditional learning methods.

Better understanding and adeptness
By giving more significance to the meaning, applicability and relevance to the learning materials it leads to better understanding of the subjects learnt. When students are given more challenging and significant problems are given it makes them more proficient. The real life contexts and problems makes their learning more profound, lasting and also enhance the transferability of skills and knowledge from the classroom to work. Since there is more scope for application of knowledge and skills the transferability is increased. It will be also very helpful to them not only to visualise what it will be like applying that knowledge and expertise on their field of work or profession.

Reinforces interpersonal skills and teamwork
Project based learning is more of teamwork and collaborative learning. The teams or groups resolve relevant problems in collaboration and hence it fosters student interaction, teamwork and reinforces interpersonal skills. like peer evaluation, working with group dynamic etc. It also fosters in them the leadership qualities, learn to make decision by consensus and give constructive feed back to the team members etc.

Self-motivated attitude
Researchers say that students like problem-based learning classes rather than the traditional classes. The increase in the percentage of attendance of students and their attitude towards this approach itself makes it very clear that they are self-motivated. In fact it is more fascinating, stimulating and one of the good learning methods because it is more flexible and interesting to students. They enjoy this environment of learning for it is less threatening and they can learn independently. All these aspects make students more self-motivated and they pursue learning even after they leave the school or college.

Enriches the teacher-student relationship
Since the students are self-motivated, good teamwork, self-directed learning etc. the teachers who have worked in both traditional and project based learning formats prefer project based learning. They also feel that problem-based learning is more nurturing, significant curriculum and beneficial to the cognitive growth of the student.

Higher level of learning
The PBL students score higher than the students in traditional courses because of their learning competencies, problem solving, self-assessment techniques, data gathering, behavioral science etc. It is because they are better at activating prior knowledge, and they learn in a context resembling their future context and elaborate more on the information presented which helps in better understanding and retention of knowledge. In medical education, PBL cases can incorporate dialogue between patients and physicians, demonstrate the narrative character of the medical encounter, and examine the political economic contributors to disease production. PBL can serve as a platform for a discursive practices approach to culture that emphasizes the emergent, participant-constructed qualities of social phenomena while also acknowledging large-scale social forces.