Answer to “Should lectures be used in a PBL curriculum?”


Problem-based learning (PBL) emphasises students work in small groups and their self-directed learning and deemphasises teacher-controlled activities such as the lecture.  Although the need for and the role of lectures in PBL have been debated, PBL evaluations suggest that there is a role for lectures in PBL curriculum, if a limited one.


The lecture in PBL can:

  • Provide a role model for the student by illustrating how an expert thinks

  • Help the student to clarify the problem they are studying

  • Help the student to put their knowledge in a broader perspective

  • Help the student to organise their studies and provide an overview of the area


An interactive lecture (Q6) is more in line with a student-centered PBL approach than a traditional lecture.



Fyrenius, A., Bergdahl, B., and SILÉN, C., (2005).   Lectures in problem –based learning – Why, when and how?  An example of interactive lecturing that stimulates meaningful learning.  Medical Teacher, Vol. 27, No. 1, 2005, pp.61-65.

Malik, A.S., Malik, R.H., (2012).  Twelve tips for effective lecturing in a PBL curriculum.  Medical Teacher 2012;34 (3); 198-204.

Van Berkel, H., and Schmidt., H., (2005).  On the Additional Value of Lectures in a Problem-Based Curriculum.  Education for Health, Vol. 18, No 1, March 2005, 45-61.