Problem based learning. From artificial heresy to res popularis

L. A. Branda

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    The vast use of problem based learning (PBL) in the teachinglearning process has resulted in its transformation from an artificial heresy to a res popularis with the subsequent proliferation of publications, books and congresses on the subject. This deluge of information, very often, has created confusion on the comprehension of what PBL is as learning strategy. This article presents a definition of what PBL was considered in its conception, and its extension to problem resolution. The importance of learning objectives (learning outcomes) is indicated and some steps in the preparation of situations/scenarios/problems/cases are described. Also, student evaluation is described, both the formative evaluation based on tutorial observations as well as the summative. The description of the stages in the PBL process has solely the purpose to indicate what the students could do, not what they should do. Taking into account the resource limitations of most institutions which wish to implement PBL, the application of this strategy in large groups is also described. The role of the tutor facilitator and the characteristics of his intervention from hierarchical to one of facilitating student autonomy are discussed. This article ends with a reflexion on self-directed learning and its relationship to self-regulated learning. © Viguera Editores SL 2009.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11-23
    JournalEducacion Medica
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


    • Evaluation
    • Large groups
    • Problem based learning
    • Problem solving
    • Self-directed learning


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