Problem-based learning involves students working in small, collaborative groups on challenging, open ended problems. Groups are led by tutors, or facilitators.

In problem-based learning, students are encouraged to direct their own learning process with the support of their tutor. This method of learning enhances students’ content knowledge, and aids the development of communication, problem solving and self-directed learning skills.

In small groups, students are presented with a problem relating to the work that they are currently studying. Students then discuss the problem, define what they need to know and what they need to find out, and then generate hypotheses, identify goals and organize future work in order to solve the problem. The tutor’s role is not to provide information, but to guide the learning process. Each group’s results are then presented in the next problem-based learning session.

The problem-based learning process should conclude with collaboration with other groups, solving any problems that may arise from this, and reflection on the learning process. Feedback on the process should also be provided by the tutor.