Weibelzahl, S. & Lahart, O. (2011). PBL Induction Made Easy: A Web-based Resource and a Toolbox. Proceedings of FACILITATE Conference: Problem Based Learning (PBL) Today and Tomorrow, May 26-27, Dublin.

While the advantages of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) have been demonstrated in a number of studies, researchers and practictioners frequently emphasise the importance of appropriate induction of students (O'Kelly & Noone 2005; Savin-Baden & Wilkie 2006). Induction sessions may include PBL-specific information such as the PBL steps, roles and rules (Savin-Baden & Wilkie 2006) as well as generic skills such as information literacy (Breen & Fallon 2005) or use of the on-line learning environment (Donnelly 2005). Based on a panel of experts, we identified four generic skill areas that are critical for students to conduct PBL successfully: problem solving, critical thinking, communication and team work.

In order to make it as easy as possible for facilitators to conduct PBL inductions with students, we have created two support mechanisms: a web-based resource of induction exercises and material as well as a so called PBL toolbox.

The web-based resource comprises exercises, instructions, links, references and other material that can be browsed and reviewed by facilitators. Facilitators can search and select exercises that are appropriate for their target group.

We realised that it is important to ensure that students transfer and apply the skills and knowledge aquired during induction in their PBL group work. The toolbox includes a deck of cards that summarise the key concepts of the induction (e.g., problem solving steps). Facilitators can “play” these cards during the PBL group work to remind students of those concepts and bring them back on track.

We are currently testing these supports in three different modules with more than 300 students.

author = {Stephan Weibelzahl and Orla Lahart},
title = {{PBL} {I}nduction {M}ade {E}asy: A Web-based Resource and a Toolbox},
booktitle = {Proceedings of {FACILITATE} {C}onference: {P}roblem {B}ased {L}earning {(PBL)} {T}oday and {T}omorrow, {M}ay 26-27, 2011},
year = {2011}