As instructors, we are constantly trying to find ways to support our students’ learning but also help them find ways to apply content beyond the scope of the class and build connections across disciplines. Creating these authentic learning experiences for students can be challenging, but when done well they can transform student engagement and foster a life-long interest in the material. One way to approach designing course material that facilitates this engagement is to lean on structured collaborative learning methods. Education research suggests that students acquire and retain knowledge most effectively by engaging in collaborative learning groups with peers. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and Case-Based Learning (CBL) is a structured collaborative learning method where students work in teams to solve open-ended, interdisciplinary, and real-world problems. Using PBL and CBL can be an effective way to encourage students to move beyond their disciplinary expertise, build interpersonal skills necessary for productive collaborative work, and recognize how class material can be applicable to a variety of applications and situations. As with all collaborative learning, careful attention must be paid to designing material that encourages positive and productive group dynamics and ensures that the problem cannot be solved by any one group member on their own. Through a facilitator presentation and participant engagement this workshop will introduce participants to the underlying philosophy of PBL/CBL, practical aspects of implementation, and the roles of the instructor and the students in the learning process. Furthermore, participants will experience first-hand how to develop a real-world problem or a case study relevant to a course they are currently teaching or one they may teach in the future.
Julia Johnson (Presenter)
The Teaching Center, Washington University in St. Louis