Problem-based learning (PBL), generally acknowledged to have originated in the higher education (HE) environment, specifically at McMaster Medical School in Canada, provides students with the chance to learn through the experience of problem-solving, and is therefore a valuable approach for Master’s level (M-level) learning, since a high proportion of such programmes are orientated towards professional practice. Savin-Baden (2003) argues that ‘at the heart of this approach lies the development of important abilities, such as flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving and critique’ (p. 13) At its best, PBL with its focus both on collaborative and self-directed learning can be dynamic, energising and flexible, fostering independence of thought, resilience and the kind of autonomy in practice that many professions require. Here we explore the conditions necessary to make PBL effective.
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