As part of the COL supported Technology-Enabled Learning initiative, the Centre for Learning & Teaching Enhancement at the Fiji National University, hosted a workshop on Problem-Based Learning (PBL) on 27 and 28 June 2019. Prof. Karen Goodnough from Memorial University of Newfoundland was the facilitator and paced the 2-day workshop with the help of case studies for participants to think over and discuss. The workshop aimed to develop an understanding of the nature of PBL and how to design, implement, and facilitate PBL experiences. The specific learning outcomes of the workshop included the following:
- Develop an understanding of the key characteristics of PBL
- Examine learning theories and how they align with the practice of PBL
- Compare PBL to other instructional approaches such as cases and case-based methods and project-based learning
- Examine various models and approaches to PBL
- Use design criteria for developing a PBL hook
- Examine the PBL design process
- Design guidelines for facilitating PBL groups
- Reflect on their current approaches to assessment and how they align with student learning through PBL
- Identify challenges in adopting PBL models and strategies
- Reflect on how PBL may be adopted in their curriculum.
A total of 40 FNU educators participated in the workshop—35 from School of Public Health & Primary Care and 5 from School of Education. Overall, participants found the workshop very useful, with some acknowledging the fact that perhaps they had been using PBL all the while, though not really understanding it as PBL. Prof. Goodnough was happy with the participant engagement over the 2 days and wished the teachers the very best with their future PBL endeavours.
While inaugurating the workshop, Prof. James Pounder, Pro Vice Chancellor Learning and Teaching, said that “PBL is a constructivist approach to learning and, if done well, will align university courses with real-life work students are expected to perform post-graduation”. Prof. Pounder thanked COL for sponsoring the workshop and the participants for their commitment in attending the workshop.