Problem-based learning (PBL) has swept the world of medical education since its introduction 40 years ago, leaving a trail of unanswered or partially answered questions about its benefits. The literature is replete with systematic reviews and meta-analyses, all of which have identified some common themes; however, heterogeneity in the definition of a ‘problem-based learning curriculum’ and its delivery, coupled with different outcome measurements, has produced divergent opinions. Proponents and detractors continue to dispute the merits of the cognitive foundation of a PBL approach, but, despite this, there is evidence that graduates of PBL curricula demonstrate equivalent or superior professional competencies compared with graduates of more traditional curricula.
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- Problem-based learning
- Medical education
- Self-directed learning
- Memory and cognitive architecture
- Guided learning
- Outcome assessment
- Clinical competency
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Alan J. Neville
McMaster University, Faculty of Health Sciences
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Received: May 25, 2008
Revised: July 30, 2008
Published online: December 04, 2008
Number of Print Pages : 9
Number of Figures : 0, Number of Tables : 2, Number of References : 40
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