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K-State Today

April 3, 2015

Tired of lecturing? Try problem-based learning

Submitted by Brandon Irwin

We need to rethink the way we teach. The traditional model of lecturing, memorizing and regurgitating on tests is failing our students and, for me, crushing my soul. The good news: there are alternatives. Good ones. 

I have been experimenting with problem-based learning. In short, in a problem-based learning course, the instructor initiates the learning process by introducing a real-world problem and students work in groups to solve the problem. The role of the instructor is to facilitate, but not lead, the learning process. There are several studies and meta-analyses showing the effectiveness of this approach across a variety of disciplines — e.g., Dochy, 2003Strobel, 2004; Mergendollar, 2006.

The goal of this announcement is to identify others on campus who are currently using or are interested in using problem-based learning in the future. If there is sufficient interest and need, we will explore the possibility of hosting a problem-based learning workshop, delivered by faculty members from the Problem Based Learning Institute at the University of Delaware.

To indicate your interest, please fill out this form and I will contact you shortly to arrange our first meeting.


Brandon Irwin, assistant professor in kinesiology