Source: Making Learning Real: "PBCL: Preparing Students For Today's Marketplace"
This media asset is excerpted from Making Learning Real: "PBCL: Preparing Students For Today's Marketplace."
This video excerpted from Making Learning Real introduces Problem-Based Case Learning (PBCL). With PBCL, the instructor works with an industry partner to bring a problem to the class. The students, with guidance from their teacher, proceed through cycles of research and testing before giving a final report back to the partner. The video features commentary from students, instructors, trainers, and one of the originators of the methodology, Dr. John Bransford, professor of education at the University of Washington School of Education. They introduce the approach and reflect on its value from their various perspectives.
Problem-Based Case Learning (PBCL) originated in community colleges, putting a real-world industry problem at the center of the technician education curriculum. The methodology combines many familiar pedagogical elements into an engaging and proven method to train student technicians. PBCL is similar to project-based learning and case study methods; a key distinction in the PBCL approach is that an actual problem from industry—not a fictional example or an exercise from a text—is the content for the course or course unit.
Accordingly, a partnership with industry is the first step in this approach, followed by a cycle of tasks for instructor and student. These include framing the problem effectively, undertaking iterative project-based learning activities, and finally proposing a solution and presenting it to the industry partner.
A key benefit of this approach is that it builds content knowledge—students have to dig into the content to understand the issues and develop valid responses—while also building the contextual understanding and so-called “soft-skills” that are crucial for a 21st century workforce. Students must learn how to work in teams, give presentations effectively, frame specifications and requirements for varied audiences, and bring a problem-solving disposition to all aspects of the job, including communication and management. PBCL fosters this kind of thinking and has been proven to be successful across the full range of technical discipline levels—from introductory to advanced—as well as in high school settings.
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