Problem-Based Learning Constructivism

Problem-based learning addresses the need to promote lifelong learning through the process of inquiry and constructivist learning. PBL is considered a constructivist approach to instruction because it emphasizes collaborative and self-directed learning while being supported by tutor facilitation. Yew and Schmidt, Schmidt, and Hung elaborate on the cognitive constructivist process of PBL:

Learners are presented with a problem and through discussion within their group, activate their prior knowledge.
Within their group, they develop possible theories or hypotheses to explain the problem. Together they identify learning issues to be researched. They construct a shared primary model to explain the problem at hand. Facilitators provide scaffolding, which is a framework on which students can construct knowledge relating to the problem.
After the initial teamwork, students work independently in self-directed study to research the identified issues.
The students re-group to discuss their findings and refine their initial explanations based on what they learned.

PBL follows a constructivist perspective in learning as the role of the instructor is to guide and challenge the learning process rather than strictly providing knowledge. From this perspective, feedback and reflection on the learning process and group dynamics are essential components of PBL. Students are considered to be active agents who engage in social knowledge construction. PBL assists in processes of creating meaning and building personal interpretations of the world based on experiences and interactions. PBL assists to guide the student from theory to practice during their journey through solving the problem.