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Problem-based learning in an LSP classroom
at higher education institutions
by
Dubravka Celinšek and Irena Kuštrin
- 3

Solving a problem - a 7-Step procedure

The first meeting of team members and teacherscovers Steps 1 – 5 and their second meetingcoversStep 7. Step 6 is dedicated to individual research.

Step I :Making the case clear: At this stage the terms and the concepts are being clarified. Students appoint a chairperson and a secretary, which are rotating functions. Other roles: time keeper/progress chaser, reporter, designer/investigator, editor/evaluator can be allocated at the end of the first meeting, keeping in mind the workload is evenly distributed. Finishing this step, all team members should understand the problem and agree it is a problem.

Step II : Formulating questions and queries: By asking questions related to the problem, students define the problem in greater depth and develop deeper understanding of the problem. Alternatively they can brainstorm, use the SWOT analysis or other ways in order to define the problem in more depth.

Step III :Identifying current knowledge: Students try to find answers to the questions from Step II by using their current knowledge and experience.

Step IV : Structuring the ideas and identifying learning needs: Students produce graphic schemes in the forms of mind maps to clearly picture cause and effect of the problem as well as possible solutions. This will help them focus their further research and prepare a logical structure of their future report. They also identify what further knowledge they need.

Step V : Formulating learning aims, distributing assignments among team members: Students reconsider the questions from Step II and formulate a clearly defined goal, which should be broken down into subgoals. Each student is then assigned the task of searching for more information about a particular question. They need to reconsider:

  • What do they need to produce?
  • What do they need to learn in order to be able to produce such an outcome?
  • How are they expected to demonstrate the result of the research?
  • What kind of information do they need in order to carry out the task?

Step VI : Individual research activities: Students search for information in the library, on the Internet, in companies and other organizations, etc. Some specific guidence might be needed from their subject teacher as well.

Step VII : Evaluation of new information: Students evaluate information they have gathered and ask themselves if this information is relevant enough to defend their case and decide if further research is needed before proceeding to the reporting stage. They plan how to use the gathered information and decide if further search is needed.

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