Problem-based Learning: Enhancing Tutors' Facilitation Skills Using Structured Small Group Experiential Learning

Document Type



Educational Development


Introduction: Effective facilitation of PBL tutorials requires tutors to develop observation skills, cognitive strategies and motor skills. The initial tutor training workshops at Aga Khan University were geared towards providing an understanding of the theory of the PBL process but not hands-on experience in facilitation.

Objectives: To use structured, small group experiential learning (SSGEL) to enhance skills in PBL tutorial facilitation, with opportunities to practice and provide individual feedback.

Methods: The workshop was structured using Gagne's principles of instruction as a framework, making the learning more experiential and systematic. Cue cards were used with trigger statements related to disruptive behaviors and inappropriate feedback statements from students that commonly occur during PBL sessions, to give tutors an opportunity to handle these simulated situations.

Outcomes: Analysis of the post workshop evaluation forms provided generally positive feedback from participants on the structure and content of the revised workshop. Participants highlighted the session on PBL experience as highly interactive and rated it as a good learning experience, with an average rating of 4.54 out of 5.

Conclusion: The structured small group experiential learning exercise provided faculty with an opportunity to practice facilitation skills focusing on developing a standard approach in dealing with common, difficult situations in maintaining group dynamics during a PBL session. The structure of the program was designed to enable participants to better understand the rationale and philosophy of PBL and the curricular change in our school, and to prepare them to serve more effectively as PBL tutors.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Education for Health