Problem-based learning and experiential learning

by Paul Maharg on 17/07/2011

Is it useful to think of problem-based learning as a form of experiential learning?  I didn’t used to think so, but re-reading a meta-review — Koh et al, reference below – and thinking of the work of Maggie Savin-Badin and others in online environments, I’m not so sure.

Koh et al conducted a systematic review of evidence of the effects that problem-based learning during medical school had on physician competencies after graduation.  They found that only 4 competencies had moderate to strong levels of evidence in support of problem-based learning for both self-and observed assessments: coping with uncertainty (strong), appreciation of legal and ethical aspects of health care (strong), communication skills (moderate and strong respectively) and self-directed continuing learning (moderate).  On their interpretation problem-based learning during medical school has positive effects on physician competency after graduation, mainly in social and cognitive dimensions.  Which of course are the core areas that experiential learning enhances.

Koh GC, Khoo HE, Wong ML, Koh D., The effects of problem-based learning during medical school on physician competency: a systematic review. Canadian Medical Association Journal January 1, 2008; 178 (1). doi:10.1503/cmaj.070565.


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