Other Outcomes to Problem-Based Learning

One of the aims of PBL is the development of self-directed learning (SDL) skills. In Loyens, Magda & Rikers' discussion, SDL is defined as "a process in which individuals take the initiative...in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating goals, identifying human and material resources, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes". By being invited into the learning process, students are also invited to take responsibility for their learning, which leads to an increase in self-directed learning skills. In Severiens and Schmidt's study of 305 first year college students, they found that PBL and its focus on SDL led to motivation for students to maintain study pace, led to social and academic integration, encouraged development of cognitive skills, and fostered more study progress than students in a conventional learning setting. PBL encourages learners to take a place in the academic world through inquiring and discovery that is central to problem-based learning.

PBL is also argued as a learning method that can promote the development of critical thinking skills. In PBL learning, students learn how to analyze a problem, identify relevant facts and generate hypotheses, identify necessary information/knowledge for solving the problem and make reasonable judgments about solving the problem.

Employers have appreciated the positive attributes of communication, teamwork, respect and collaboration that PBL experienced students have developed. These skills provide for better future skills preparation in the ever-changing information explosion. PBL curriculum includes building these attributes through knowledge building, written and interpersonal interactions and through the experience of the problem solving process.