Faculty perceptions of problem-based learning in a veterinary college
Robert Malinowski, Michigan State University, United States
Michigan State University . Awarded
Problem-based learning (PBL) has been embraced by several veterinary colleges as one approach to manage the ever-growing body of knowledge in the profession. The goal is to foster the development of problem-solving and critical thinking skills in students, enabling them to make logical and informed decisions, rather than rely on the rote memorization of facts. PBL comes in many different forms, which causes difficulties with making inferences on student learning and the development of these thinking skills. Moreover, there are a range of possible reasons why and how PBL is implemented i.e. the decision how to implement PBL is dependent on a variety of factors. This qualitative study utilized the concepts of Situated Perspective Theory (Bruce, 1993) and Academic Plans (Stark & Lattuca, 2009) to better understand the contextual, historical, and contingent reasons for the specific manner in which PBL was implemented in the veterinary courses at Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews with instructors that are actively using PBL in their courses.
The goal of this study was to develop a rich description of which instructors have integrated PBL into their courses, the specific forms of PBL that were being utilized, and to explore the unique factors in each course that influenced PBL adoption and evolution. This study contributes to the current literature on the use of PBL in veterinary education in specific (and to the application of PBL to professional education, in general) by expanding the manner in which we think about PBL and the contexts of its implementation, thereby informing instructional decision making by instructors and other faculty groups working in institutions of higher education. The results of this study indicate a high degree of variation in PBL implementation at the College, and the absence of a single, unified approach for using this method. Despite faculty perceptions that it is an effective instructional tool, this study indicated a lack of standardized methods for accurately measuring the true impact of PBL.
Malinowski, R. Faculty perceptions of problem-based learning in a veterinary college. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University.
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