Problem-Based Learning

By integrating research with basic science and clinical skills, I can begin to form the skills I will need as a physician investigator.  By providing a self-directed learning experience, I am able to explore the topics in medicine that interest me the most.

Shoshana Weiner
Class of 2010

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A Student-Centered Approach to Learning…

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is the core of the 1st and 2nd year curriculum. Unlike traditional teaching methods that use a faculty-driven lecture format, PBL is student-centered and student-driven. With active participation from each student, PBL groups include eight medical students and one faculty facilitator whose role is to help ensure that students address the learning objectives of each week's PBL case.


How does it work?

Each week PBL groups receive a clinical case selected by Cleveland Clinic scientists and physicians. Each case is carefully crafted for students to identify basic science learning objectives that enable them to understand and resolve the case. The cases provide a framework for students to generate a hypothesis and develop focused questions about the case’s specific learning objectives, and requires students to take responsibility for their own learning and that of their peers.

Each student researches one or more learning objectives and shares what they learned with the group. Students learn how to work in a “team” to maximize knowledge acquisition and develop collaborative interpersonal skills. Students receive feedback often from their peers and faculty facilitators. Active participation from all group members is expected. Students remain within the group for approximately 8-10 weeks depending on the organ system based course under study.
(See PBL Case)

Why PBL?

Long term success in science and medicine requires self directed learning. The PBL method of learning and group process helps students develop this mindset along with skills of critical thinking and clinical reasoning while fostering collaborative learning and interpersonal communication. The PBL cases provide a relevant clinical framework for learning basic science concepts. The constant interaction and student-driven learning are what make our program dynamic and develop physician investigators who are thoroughly comfortable with a team approach to clinical medicine and research. In fact the PBL method mimics the clinical practice of medicine that will be the graduates profession for the rest of their lives.