Unformatted text preview: 1999; Hannafin, 1996), and Goal based Scenarios
(GBS’s) (Schank, Berman, & Macpherson, 1999; Schank, Fano, Bell, & Jona,
1993/1994). In general, these constructivist learning environments have the
following characteristics: learning through problem solving in authentic
environments; an emphasis on student collaboration; helping students view problems from multiple disciplinary perspectives, and assessment that employs
student-generated artifacts or student exhibitions (Krajcik, 1999). 47 Problem-based learning environments also have the following major
components (Jonassen, 1999; Tan & Hung, 2002).
• A problem, case, issue, or project that guides and structures the
learning • A series of related cases to help scaffold learners’ thinking • Information resources or information banks (Perkins, 1992) to provide
need background information • Supporting tools, often in the form of technology applications, that
include cognitive tools to support students’ learning and problem
solving, and conversation and collaboration tools to facilitate group
problem solving and interactions • Social/contextual support to provide training and environmental
support needed by teachers and students These characteristics of a constructivist learning environment and the
components of problem-based learning provide a useful context for thinking about
instructional design issues for problem-based learning.
Selecting the Problem, Question, Issue. Project, Or Case
The key instructional design decision in planning problem-based learning
is the identification of the problems. These problems are the focus of problembased learning, and students use them to acquire important knowledge and skills.
An effective problem should have a number of characteristics. 48 First, the problems should typically be ill-defined problems (Arends,
2001). Ill-defined problems are like the complex problems that are encountered
in everyday life. They should require students to define some aspects of the
problem as they solve it,...
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