Everything You Need To Know About Problem-Based Learning

Last Updated on October 3, 2023 by Editorial Team

“We create learners who are “life-ready” so that they can apply their knowledge to real-life situations.” ― Sandy Hooda.

Students learn about a subject through the experience of answering an open-ended issue discovered in trigger material while using the problem-based learning (PBL) approach. While the PBL approach does not emphasize problem-solving with a clear answer, it does provide opportunities for the development of other desired abilities and traits. Knowledge gain, improved group cooperation, and communication are included in this.

A novel manner of employing material to aid student learning, Problem-Based learning is both a creative and demanding approach to education. It calls for the instructor to utilize facilitation and support techniques rather than didactic and directive ones.

For the learner, problem-based learning places more emphasis on using knowledge and abilities to solve problems than it does on remembering information. It is a strategy that is highly favored by curriculum designers at more modern and cutting-edge medical institutions.

Problem-based learning: The what explored

An educational strategy known as problem-based learning (PBL) encourages students to take ownership of their own education and is frequently employed in K–12 and higher education settings.

With this approach, difficult, open-ended situations with no  “correct” solution serve as the basis for learning. The situations and problems provided are situation-specific. The students work in small collaborative groups here as independent, proactive investigators and problem-solvers. A remedy is then decided upon and put into practice when a major issue has been recognized.

By directing the learning process and encouraging an environment of inquiry, teachers take on the role of learning facilitators. PBL aims to get students to apply knowledge to new scenarios rather than having a teacher provide facts and then assess students’ recall of these things through memory. The task of researching and identifying useful solutions is given to students when they are presented with poorly structured, contextualized problems. 

Effectiveness of problem-based learning

One of the most empowering methods to place students at the center of their own educational experience is through student-led learning. Consequently, problem-based learning offers several advantages, like as

 problem-based learning

1. Encourage self-learning

Problem-based learning encourages children to take the initiative and ownership of their learning because it is a student-centered approach. They acquire abilities that will help them as adults as they are encouraged to use their imagination and research skills.

 2. Extremely engaging

Problem-based learning puts students in control rather than having them sit back, listen, and take notes. To address issues, they must be vigilant, use critical thinking, and think creatively.

 3. Cultivate transferrable skills

Students’ aptitudes aren’t limited to a single topic or classroom. They may be used in various academic disciplines and real-world situations, from taking charge to problem-solving.

4. Develop cooperation skills

As part of many problem-based learning projects, students cooperate with peers to devise a solution. Kids are tested as they develop cooperation, communication, compromise, and listening skills.

5. Promote intrinsic incentives

Problem-based learning projects offer benefits beyond receiving a grade A. Students gain pride and fulfillment from knowing they have come up with a novel answer, finished a physical product, or cracked a riddle.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students learn by actively engaging with real-world problems. While this approach has many potential benefits,

There are also some potential drawbacks to using PBL in the classroom.

1. Time Consuming

One potential disadvantage of PBL is that it can be time-consuming for both students and teachers. Because PBL requires students to actively engage with the material and work collaboratively to find solutions to problems, it can take longer to complete a PBL project than it would complete a more traditional assignment. This can be frustrating for students who are used to more traditional forms of teaching and may not be willing to put in the extra time and effort required to complete a PBL project.


2. Difficult to analyze student performance

Another potential disadvantage of PBL is that it can be difficult to assess student learning. Traditional forms of assessment, such as multiple-choice tests and essays, are not well-suited to measuring the skills and knowledge that students gain through PBL. This can make it difficult for teachers to determine whether students are learning the material and making progress.

3. Non- Suitability for everyone 

Additionally, PBL may not be suitable for all students or all subject areas. Some students may struggle with the open-ended nature of PBL and may need more structure and guidance in order to be successful. In addition, certain subject areas, such as mathematics and the sciences, may lend themselves better to more traditional forms of teaching and assessment.

Overall, while PBL has many potential benefits, it is important for teachers to carefully consider the potential drawbacks and determine whether it is the right approach for their students and subject area.

A few examples of problem-based learning

1. Remodel the institution

Students are frequently critical of their institutions and the system, but this project will give them a chance to speak up and consider how to best redesign their institutions to satisfy students. Additionally, this is a chance for the facilitator to get valuable facilitator feedback and discover what the students desire from their learning environment.

2. Urban organizing

It is ideal for humanities courses since it requires students to observe and speak with locals to identify the most adverse problems. They create workable alternatives to present to a jury of expert urban planners.

3. Hold a motivating session

Allowing students to construct a motivational session, such as a TED talk, is a great way to help them improve their communication abilities. These presentations aren’t only motivating; many of them also tackle bigger issues by using data from studies or real-world issues. They may impart classroom content to a large audience, which will help promote communication skill development.

4. Balanced Meal

The issue of unhealthy school meals persists and directly impacts pupils. Allow them to investigate the nutritional content of their cafeteria meals and create a dependable, nutritious substitute to support their expanding bodies and guarantee student delight over lunch.

5. Create a playground

This imaginative exercise is appropriate for younger pupils just beginning to learn geometry. They create their ideal playground with blocks, on a sheet of paper, or with origami sheets and show others. The placement, complexity, and number of things depict how the subject in real life comprehends challenging ideas, this analysis is specifically done by a psychologist.

Problem-based learning: Is it good for individuals with LD? 

All students with learning difficulties, even those in a science classroom, benefit from problem-based learning strategies. PBL strategies have a favorable impact[1] on both general education and students with learning impairments’ academic performance, attitudes toward learning, classroom climate, self-efficacy, and social skills. When help is offered, students with learning disabilities can benefit from PBL full methods in the scientific classroom just as much as, if not more, their counterparts who do not have learning problems.

Hence,  all students, but especially those with learning disabilities, are more driven, persistent, and committed to their studies when they perceive their teachers as caring individuals in addition to being supportive. All students experience an increase in academic success due to these changes in effort, motivation, and persistence.


The world of today is seeing a fast expansion of readily available knowledge. To properly use the vast amount of knowledge at their disposal, students must be self-directed and have lifelong learning abilities. Students must be able to integrate knowledge and abilities from several disciplines to design and implement solutions due to the multidisciplinary nature of today’s concerns, challenges, and jobs. They can acquire relevant discipline-specific information while developing transferrable skills and traits through problem-based learning activities.

When tested for long-term knowledge retention and applicability, PBL is a successful teaching and learning strategy. PBL can provide a foundation for a discursive practices approach to culture that highlights the participant-constructed, emergent characteristics of social phenomena while simultaneously recognizing large-scale societal changes.


  1. Yew, E. H., & Goh, K. (2016). Problem-Based Learning: An Overview of its Process and Impact on Learning. Health Professions Education, 2(2), 75-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hpe.2016.01.004

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