Problem Based Learning

Problem based learning is one of the assumptions of andragogy, which is directly linked to the adult learning. This assumption indicates that adult learners tend to study or address matters, which are needed urgent solutions or actions. According to some authors, such behavior of adult learner is influenced by his/her social role and life experience. However, some educational theorists claim that the adult learning is always not problem centered and in some situations, it does not focus on immediate application. For example, some adult learning activities are conducted to achieve accomplishment. On the other hand, children education (Pedagogy) is not always subject centered. Currently, problem based learning has become a popular learning strategy in training programs of medical and management education. In management training programs, students are required to handle real world business problems with their clients. Additionally, some professional graduate programs offer opportunities for their students to engage in action research. In such research studies, graduate students and their institutes identify real world problems and investigate the potential causes of such problems. Furthermore, graduate students and their institutes design, implement, and evaluate solutions for the identified real world problems.

I taught rural and regional development planning for rural development officers who work at village and district levels in Sri Lanka. I think that problem based learning provides very important insight to deliver the content of rural and regional development planning in a meaningful manner. In my future teaching in rural and regional development planning, I will use problem based learning approach. Here, I would like to emphasize the role of work shop, which aim problem solving activities in rural development planning in order to build-up necessary skills for formulating rural development programs and projects. Flipping class room structure may be a more appropriate tool for conducting such problem centered learning activities individually, as well as in groups. Specifically, I will use flipping class room structure followed by the workshop to prepare project proposals for solving specific rural development problems. For example, firstly, I will assign students to use online reading materials and instructional videos to understand current problems in rural and regional development planning in Sri Lanka. Then, I will organize a workshop and will divide the class into the small groups. Lastly, I will request them to prepare a project proposal for solving specific rural development problem.




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