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The Problem Based Learning approach to education in The Netherlands

Question and Answers 18 September 2015, 07:54

Along with the standard learning formats such as lectures, workshops, and internships, universities in The Netherlands always look for innovative approaches to learning that are able to improve the study experience and to elevate education to a higher level. One of these innovative approaches is called Problem Based Learning, or PBL. It was first implemented in Holland by Stenden University of Applied Sciences in the middle of twentieth century.

The PBL session at Stenden University of Applied SciencesAlong with the standard learning formats such as lectures, workshops, and internships, universities in The Netherlands always look for innovative approaches to learning that are able to improve the study experience and to elevate education to a higher level. One of these innovative approaches is called Problem Based Learning, or PBL. It was first implemented in Holland by Stenden University of Applied Sciences in the middle of twentieth century.

The PBL learning approach is built around solving certain problems and gaining the practical skills needed by students during any future career. This method promotes both individual and group work. It encourages students to contribute all of their prior knowledge to the final result while also learning something new in the process.

PBL at Stenden University

Within the framework of the PBL approach at Stenden, students meet once a week in small groups of 12 to 15 and work together on solving a problem that represents potential real-life problems they may face in the future. One of the students takes the leading role while another becomes the minute taker who is tasked with keeping records of every meeting. A teacher guides and facilitates the process and acts as a tutor to the group.

Solve problems in 7 steps

Each case has seven steps to solve. While going through these steps students analyse, discuss and brainstorm solutions to the problem. They also share their individual knowledge, experience, and opinions, and they set intermediate goals and ways to reach them. Research is conducted in the multimedia library by browsing sources such as books and websites which can be helpful in providing extra information that is used in solving the actual problem.

Find the best solution

The case is concluded when the students determine which solution is the most optimal for the problem. Each case helps students learn something new about a particular topic, as well as develops their problem-solving skills such as planning, self-discipline, and working in group.

Multiple PBL sessions throughout a programme help to ensure that students will be well prepared when facing challenges at work and will become valuable employees in the labour market upon graduation.

Watch the video about Stenden’s PBL approach:

For more information, please view the Problem Based Learning page on the Stenden University website.

Learn more about Stenden's PBL.

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