PBL- Essentials & Support

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered pedagogy in which students learn about a subject through the experience of solving an open-ended problem found in trigger material. The PBL process does not focus on problem- solving  with a defined solution, but it allows for the development of other desirable skills and attributes. This includes knowledge acquisition, enhanced group collaboration and communication. The PBL process was developed for medical education and has since been broadened in applications for other programs of learning. The process allows for learners to develop skills used for their future practice. It enhances critical appraisal, literature retrieval and encourages ongoing learning in a team environment.

The PBL tutorial process involves working in small groups of learners. Each student takes on a role within the group that may be formal or informal and the role often rotates. It is focused on the student’s reflection and reasoning  to construct their own learning. The Maastricht seven-jump process involves clarifying terms, defining problem(s), brainstorming, structuring and hypothesis, learning objectives, independent study and synthesis. In short, it is identifying what they already know, what they need to know, and how and where to access new information that may lead to the resolution of the problem. The role of the tutor is to facilitate learning by supporting, guiding, and monitoring the learning process. The tutor must build students’ confidence to take on the problem, and encourage the students, while also stretching their understanding. This process is based on constructivism. PBL represents a paradigm shift from traditional teaching and learning philosophy,  which is more often lecture-based. The constructs for teaching PBL are very different from traditional classroom or lecture teaching and often requires more preparation time and resources to support small group learning.

PBL TEMPLATE>>    PBLtemplate-V-1

ARTICLE- EL-Larmer & Mergendoller– Seven-Essentials-for-Project-Based-Learning.pdf


Buck Institute – Why Project Based Learning



  • Analyze
  • Infer
  • Compare & Contrast
  • Justify
  • Evaluate
  • Create
  • Synthesize
  • Summarize
  • Cause & Effect


Depth   Of   Knowledge Levels

  • DOK 1:  Recall–Remember their developmental level
  • DOK 2:  Multiple steps, one answer, cognitive decision
  • DOK 3: Justify, some collaboration, abstract, real world, interdisciplinary, more than one answer, multiple approaches


  • DOK 4:
    • Performance tasks are Key in the higher order DOK 3-4
    • DOK 4 is “real world application”  (application is a skill)
    • The nature of a DOK 4 activity calls for a PBL  -project based learning
    • Take more time
    • Rubric
    • Product is important and different
    • Teacher is facilitator…roles change as the student does the work
    • Collaboration
    • Students make decisions
    • Students do research
    • Challenge the kids
    • Problem solving
    • Higher order thinking –HOT
    • Discovery & Inquiry
    • Student does the work and they discovery through inquiry
    • Cross disciplines
    • Greater student autonomy…not cookie cutter
    • They are not led, as they come to their own conclusions.
    • Curve ball….. Throw on a “what if”, make it real world, this changes directions in thought…This is big, as it shifts the PBL to make them

Do not confine a student’s way to show mastery






arts DOK

math sci dok

read write DOK




Webbs Depth of Knowledge Guide


SoE Mtng PwrPt 10.19.12 (Finco)





Grouping Ideas





Matrix tools:


TEMPLATE:  Mastery Matrix 2.0 DOK 1-4


OLD MATRIX TEMPLATE >>DOK 1-3 only > matrix-template 
Depth Of Knowledge LevelsCornerstone skills 2013-14Fayette County FYS-Session 1 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s