Problems Everywhere? Strengths and Challenges of a Problem-Based Learning Approach in European Studies

22 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2012 Last revised: 14 Feb 2012

See all articles by Heidi Maurer

Heidi Maurer

Maastricht University

C. Neuhold

Maastricht University

Abstract

Nearly 50 years after its introduction in university education Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is still considered an alternative way of teaching and learning. PBL is based on the idea of small group collaborative learning with students being actively responsible for their own learning process and for the meaningful construction of knowledge by linking to existing knowledge. Learning in such an environment increases motivation and the probability of learning by deep understanding in contrast to passive knowledge transfer. Yet, the use of Problem-Based Learning also inherits certain challenges that can harm the positive impact of this alternative learning approach. The aim of this paper is to shed light on those aspects that are crucial to make PBL work. In the literature, the importance of the role of tutors and well-suited assignments are emphasised. This paper reflects on those aspects by drawing on the experience from the Bachelor European Studies at Maastricht University, but also discusses additional challenges like group dynamics and communicative skills.

Keywords: Problem-Based Learning; European Studies; teaching

Suggested Citation

Maurer, Heidi and Neuhold, C., Problems Everywhere? Strengths and Challenges of a Problem-Based Learning Approach in European Studies. APSA 2012 Teaching & Learning Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1997614

Heidi Maurer (Contact Author)

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, Limburg 6200MD
Netherlands

C. Neuhold

Maastricht University ( email )

P.O. Box 616
Maastricht, Limburg 6200MD
Netherlands

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