Multi Disciplinary Problem Based Scenarios Education Essay

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Abstract :


Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is an instructional methodology which is based on presenting the learners an "ill-structured and complex domain" problem for which they are to collaboratively research and propose potential solutions. PBL has been successfully used in the field of medicine, and now being adapted to other fields for all ages of learners. According to Koschmann, et al (1996) teaching for ill-structured and complex domains poses several challenges such as:

How to integrate the multiple perspectives and strategies that apply to the problem ;

How to actively engage learners;

How to allow learners to revise their hypotheses without getting off-track;

How to make sure that the learning is transferable to the real world; and

How to make sure those learners can express their newfound knowledge while maintaining a "skeptical certainty" in this knowledge, as this knowledge still can be deepened and refined.

The problem given has to be adequate, realistic and essential to the learners to meet these challenges. Teacher as facilitator must be well-trained and able to scaffold the learning process without directly providing straight-forward answers to the learners.

PBL (Barab & Duffy, 2000) is based on the assumption that learning does not grow merely in the minds of individual learners. It is actually associated to the social interactions that take place in a particular realistic learning environment and engage the learner in the kind of thinking that would be carried out in real life. PBL helps learners learn skills and strategies in addition to content. For example, learners find themselves developing research skills, use of multiple sources for learning, time management, self-directed learning, transferring knowledge, problem solving skills and other lifelong learning skills while finding information to solve the problem. In PBL, the learners are presented with authentic ill-structured problems before they receive instruction. Then, they must learn the content and necessary skills for solving the problem through collaborative research, discussion, and strategic planning. In PBL, learners take on the positions of planners, scientists, geographers, historians, designers and so on.

In PBL, an ill-defined problem is a problem with multiple possible solutions. Here, learners come across different ways to approach a problem, discuss these with their respective group members and find solutions. At this stage, learners should not know all of the information needed to solve the problem or propose a solution. They must constantly look out for more information and sometimes redefine the problem. Learners "probe deeply into issues searching for connections, grappling with complexity, and using knowledge to fashion solutions." (Stepien & Gallagher, 1993)

In the process of problem-solving, the students will encounter a variety of disciplines in addition to just one subject content area. This form of learning, closely allied to Brown, Collins and Duguid's (1989) cognitive apprenticeship learning, consists of authentic participation in the activities, such as solving and reasoning of complex real-life problems, at a level appropriate to the learner's current competency. Therefore, creating a program that provides the learners with tools and opportunities to involve in activities normally engaged by the real practitioner would deem appropriate; duly named "My-PBS (Multi-Disciplinary Problem Based Scenarios) Program. My-PBS program not only focus on specific content areas, it also provide opportunities for cross-curricular extensions. Researchers created anchors (scenarios), plus instructional activities to accompany them that focus on the areas of social sciences (i.e., geography, history, moral studies, etc), mathematics, sciences and literacy (Kementerian Pelajaran Malaysia, 2005; Leo, 1995; Mohd Sham Sani, 1995; Mohd. Zohir Ahmad, 2003).

My-PBS is a technology-based program designed to motivate learners and help them learn to think and reason about complex problems. It is focused on thinking and reasoning because there is considerable evidence that today's learners are not particularly strong in these areas. It utilizes multimedia technology because of its potential to help learners engage in the kind of learning and assessment activities that will develop strong abilities to think and solve problems. Integration of technology and My-PBS has the potential to allow ample of coverage of curricular content, provision of platform and guidelines for learners communication outside the classroom (Gerhardt et al., 2007). My-PBS program is basically an interactive multimedia CD-ROMs based stand alone courseware. It combines video, text, audio, animations and interactivity content forms. The effectiveness of My-PBS integrated with technology seems to improve learner's readiness to use of multiple sources for learning and problem solving skills.

The videos in My-PBS program are particularly useful as it has been acted out by real actors and actresses based on "Best Friends Forever" theme. The content has a high visual impact, where it provides an impression of life outside the classroom which would be inconvenient or perhaps impossible to achieve. It shows that three best friends who were actually stranded in a tropical rainforests, the challenges faced by them and so on. It is certainly to be more visually relevant and more stimulating for the learners as the theme "Best Friends Forever" were pertinent to them.

The current study will be done to examine the effectiveness of My-PBS program with ICT versus conventional method to examine learner's use of multiple sources for learning and problem solving skills of the learners. Ribeiro (2008) reported that problem based learning received positive response from the learners in the following areas such as learners' readiness to use multiple sources for learning and problem solving skills. In spite of that, not many researchers have been done to investigate the effectiveness of using My-PBS program with ICT in the learner's readiness to use multiple sources for learning and problem solving skills of the learners in multi-disciplinary subject. Thus there is a possibility that this My-PBS program with ICT might produce better-off or similar results compared to the PBL method.

Therefore, the purpose of this research is to implement My-PBS program with ICT in multi-disciplinary subjects and to study the effectiveness of this approach towards learners' readiness to use multiple sources for learning and problem solving skills. The research questions are:

Does My-PBS with ICT improve the readiness to use multiple sources for learning among learners?

Does My-PBS with ICT improve the problem solving skills among learners?

Literature Review

Problem Based Learning (PBL) is an experiential learning strategy. The teacher's preliminary role in PBL is to develop realistic and authentic problems for the learners to solve. They may include videos, audios, memos, letters, charts, articles and so on to present the ill-structured problem in a realistic way. According to Stepien & Gallagher (1993), teacher will present the materials, then acts as a model, "thinking aloud with students and practicing behavior they want their learners to use." Here, the teacher needs to poses meta-cognitive questions to keep the learners thinking about what they are learning and how, such as:

What do we need to know in detail?

Where did you find that information?

What are the searching strategies did you use to locate that particular information?

How did your team effectively communicate with each other?

As for the teacher, they need to give scaffolding to the learners when necessary. The scaffolding from the teacher lies in answering questions with more questions, pushing the learners to find information and solutions on their own. As it continues, the role of the teacher diminishes into the background while students retain in solving the problem. Here, the teacher can help and direct the learners to information which will help them to solve the problem, but should not answer the questions per se. What questions should learners ask? What sort of problems will provoke learners to raise those questions? Those questions will help the learners to focus on certain issues and encourage them to think about how they are learning.

As for learners, they have to take part actively to solve the problem. Learners need to generate a list of learning issues; what they need to know to complete the task per se. Later, when new learning issues arise, the learner has to create an action plan to deal with the issue. When all these issues have been examined, investigated, and resolved, learners will assess their own performance in fulfilling the goals of their actions; by determining what they know, and do not know; predicting outcomes, planning ahead and setting time lines; efficiently allocate time and cognitive resources; working collaboratively towards a common goal; and monitoring their efforts to learn or solve a problem (Wilkerson & Feletti, 1989).

Put in info about why multi -disciplinary?

Mention about jasper project s and use of real ppl than animations

Mention the advantages of using real ppl

Mention the advantages of my-pbs

Research question?? -2