Answer to "What are the ‘costs’ associated with implementing PBL?"

PBL has resource implications. As a foundational principle of PBL is small group learning, appropriate venues are needed. Each small group requires a trained facilitator. Finucane and colleagues (2009) advised that the point at which the cost of PBL and conventional curricula are the same as a cohort of 40-50. Such small cohort sizes are, however, few and far between today. It is possible to use one’s resources more efficiently and Lim (2012) offers some suggestions, e.g. in terms of scheduling and the number of PBL rooms required and by using senior students as facilitators. The cost of training and ongoing faculty development should be taken into consideration. In addition, if technology is used to deliver ‘problems’, these are associated set-up and maintenance costs. Hamdy and Agamy (2011) argue that in terms of faculty, there are no additional costs in implementing PBL as academics assume different educational roles.



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FINUCANE, P.M., SHANNON, W., and MCGRATH, D. (2009). The financial costs of delivering problem-based learning in a new, graduate-entry medical program. (Med Educ. 43:594-598).

HAMDY, H. and AGAMY, E. (2011). Is running a Problem-Based Learning curriculum more expensive than a traditional subject-based Curriculum? (Med Teach. 33:e209-e514).

LIM, W.K. (2012). Dysfunctional problem-based learning curricula: resolving the problem. (BMC Med Educ. 12:89