Answer to "How is the PBL ‘problem’ delivered?"

The PBL ‘problem’ can be delivered in any format but this would depend on the available resources. While paper-based problems were once the most common delivery mode, the advent of digital technology has allowed triggers to be released electronically. It is therefore not uncommon to find photographs, radiological images, doctor’s notes or videos of a patient being interviewed or examined embedded in PBL cases. Digital technology has also enabled the virtual patient as well as avatars.  


For some scenarios, it may be possible to arrange a real patient (either face-to-face or via teleconferencing) so that students can engage in real time, asking questions and clarifying perspectives. The challenge is around maintaining the small group discussions while allowing all groups access to the patient.



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MCLEAN, M, BRAZIL, V, and JOHNSON, P. (2014). How we “breathed life” into problem-based learning cases using a mobile application. (Med Teach. 36:849-852).

SAVIN-BADEN, M. TOMBS, C., et al. (2011). An evaluation of implementing problem-based learning scenarios in an immersive virtual world. (Int J Med Educ. 2: 116-124).