Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol 1, No 10 (2011), 1383-1387, Oct 2011

Observation and Reflection on Problem-based Learning

Xiang Zou


Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through solving purposefully designed “problem”. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the PBL trains the students to develop reflective thinking and acquire the necessary skills to solve problems that were not directly related to the ones discussed in PBL. Following participation in the PBL which was incorporated in an immunology course, the students were examined on questions that can be divided into two types depending on their relatedness to the PBL questions. The result indicates that the students performed equally well on these two types of questions, confirming the build-up of general problem-solving capabilities. Strategies for further improving the PBL methodology according to various pedagogical theories and practices were also discussed.


problem-based learning; web-based learning; teaching method


Wilkerson, LuAnn and Wim H. Gijselaers, eds. (1996). "Bringing Problem-based Learning to Higher Education." NewDirections for Teaching and Learning 68. Francisco: Jossey-BassSan.

Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University for the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. (1998). Reinventing Undergraduate Education: A Blueprint for America's Research Universities. (accessed 16/6/2011).

Suncana Kukolja Taradi, Milan Taradi, Kresimir Radic and Niksa Pokrajac. (2005). Blending problem-based learning with Web technology positively impacts student learning outcomes in acid-base physiology. Advan in Physiol Edu 29:35-39.

Giustina Secundo, Gianluca Elia & Cesare Taurino. (2008). Problem-Based Learning in web environments: how do students learn? Evidences from the „Virtual eBMS‟ system. Int. J. Cont. Engineering Education and Lifelong Learning, Vol. 18, No. 1. Anderson, T. (2008). Towards a Theory of Online Learning (pp 44-74). In Terry Anderson (Ed.)/The Theory and Practise of Online Learning./ Athabasca University.

Toshimasa Yoshioka, Yoko Uchida & Tadahiko Kozu. (2003). Format of Cases Affects Learning Outcomes in First Year Medical Students. Education for Health, Vol. 16, No. 1, 59 – 67.

Diana Dolmans, Hetty Snellen-Balendong, Ineke Wolfhagen & Cees van der Vleuten. (1997). Seven principles of effective case design for a problem-based curriculum. Medical Teacher, Vol. 19, No. 3.

Gillian Maudsley. (1999). Roles and responsibilities of the problem based learning tutor in the undergraduate medical curriculum. BMJ VOLUME 318 6 MARCH.

Li Chong Chan. (2008). The role of a PBL tutor: A personal perspective. Kaohsiung J Med Sci 2008; 24 (3 Suppl): S34–8.

Full Text: PDF

Theory and Practice in Language Studies (TPLS, ISSN 1799-2591)

Copyright @ 2006-2014 by ACADEMY PUBLISHER – All rights reserved.