So now you have to
solve a problem? Solving a problem shouldn't be anything new to
you--you solve problems on a daily basis. In fact, you do it so
frequently that you may not be aware of the steps you go through
to solve your problem. As a reminder, here is a step-by-step
model to Problem-Based Learning (PBL). This model sets out what
you can do to successfully come up with a solution. Feel free to
print this model and keep it with you as you work.
1. Read and analyze
the scenario and situation.
understanding of the scenario and situation by discussing it
within your team.
Don't be tempted
to start thinking about potential solutions or to start looking
for information. Your team will be more effective in finding
solutions or making recommendations by following Steps 1 through
2. List hypotheses,
ideas, or hunches.
a list your theories or hypotheses about the cause of the problem
or ideas about how to solve the problem. You will either support
or refute these ideas as your investigation proceeds.
List other different
ideas that need to be addressed.
3. List what is
print a copy of the scenario and situation and move away from
On a separate sheet
of paper, make a heading entitled "What do we know?"
As a team, list everything
your team knows about this situation, including information
contained in the scenario.
4. List what is
a second heading entitled "What do we need to know?"
Prepare a list of
team questions that need to be answered to solve the problem.
Several types of questions may be appropriate. Questions may
be in the form of requests for more information. These questions
will guide research that may take place on the Internet/WWW,
in the library, or with other sources.
5. List what needs
to be done.
third heading entitled "What should we do?"
List your plans for
investigation. These plans may include questioning an expert,
getting online data, or visiting a library to find answers to
the questions developed in Step 4.
6. Develop a problem
one or two sentence idea that clearly identifies what your team
is trying to solve, produce, respond to, test, or find out.
In complex situations,
you may have to begin Step 7, then discuss the information in
order to complete Step 6.
Keep in mind that
the problem statement may have to be revised as new information
is discovered about the situation.
7. Gather information.
responsibility for gathering, organizing, analyzing, and interpreting
information from many sources.
Exchange ideas; think
about solutions; weigh alternatives; and consider the pros and
cons of possible courses of action.
At this point, you
and your team may formulate and test new hypotheses concerning
the problem. Some problems may not require hypotheses.
Propose a recommended
solution or opinion (based on your team's research data).
8. Present findings.
a report or presentation in which you and your team make recommendations,
predictions, inferences, or other appropriate solutions to the
Be prepared to support
the positions you take.
If appropriate, consider
a multimedia presentation using images, graphics, or sound.
The steps in this model may have to
be repeated several times. Steps 3 through 7 may be conducted
at the same time as new information becomes available. As
more information is gathered, the problem statement may be
refined or altered.