Problem Based Learning


Using PBL

Scenarios are often authentic or constructed so that they could be authentic. They are often ill-structured and include complex issues or problems, which students are asked to investigate.

Usually the PBL group itself defines their learning outcomes with a support of a facilitator. The design and use of specific scenarios is therefore extremely important for student learning. Careful planning is needed to make sure that specific threshold concepts are built-into the scenario and will lead students to collaborative inquiry linked to the topic under investigation for a specific unit or programme of study.

The animated video below was made by students to explain the concepts of PBL, how it is implemented at Maastricht University, and some of the benefits and challenges of the approach.


When working with PBL, there are often fewer input sessions. These may be planned or requested by the students as a result of their engagement with a scenario. Groups meet to discuss the scenario, investigate this and share their findings with their tutor and/or other groups. PBL is an active and participatory learning approach that requires deep engagement and commitment to the task, the group and learning from the students.

PBL can work in the face-to-face, blended or online classroom thanks to the technologies and social media available today that are suitable for collaborative learning and inquiry.

This video shows Dr Leslie Robinson from the University of Salford giving a brief explanation of PBL and talking about what kinds of skills it develops in the learners and the role of the teaching/facilitator.






CPD Opportunities

Interested in an introductory PBL workshop?

Please get in touch with UTA at

Suggested CPD activities:

Engage with the resources about and reflect on what you have discovered and learnt.

Develop your ideas around by considering actions you can take to enhance your practice.

Consider using a portfolio to capture your reflections and share with others.

flex You might want to consider engaging with these activities and gaining CPD experience or academic credits with the FLEX scheme »

MMU Strategy and Policy

Manchester Met Education Strategy and Learning and Teaching Principles

Principle 1: "We will provide an excellent learning environment and outstanding student experience"

Principle 2:
"MMU provides an innovative, flexible, sustainable, enterprising and internationalised curriculum."