Problem-based learning: Where are we now? Guide supplement 36.2 - Viewpoint

Document Type



Family Medicine


The educational principles of self-directed, collaborative, and life-long learning can be effectively inculcated into the curriculum where PBL is adopted as a major learning strategy instead of PBL as a whole-curriculum-concept. In developing countries, where the entry level of the majority of students is at the high-school leaving level, a guided discovery model may well be the answer. A curriculum that introduces students to carefully constructed problems sequenced according to a matrix design ranging from simple to complex conditions and according to a logical progression of anatomical and/or physiological and/or pathological and/or pharmacological concepts makes learning easier. Centralized curricular governance, conceptualization and management have a very strong impact on the kind of curriculum, or more specifically which variant of PBL, an institution is able to implement. However, decentralized empowerment of a large number of faculty members is crucial for faculty ownership. A curricular change, especially to PBL from a traditional curriculum, demands adequate preparation time of at least 2--3 years. The time between proposing the change to introducing the change should focus not only on faculty development and training, development of the curriculum and its policies, but also on resource development and preparation of the student body.


Medical Teacher