Problem-based learning in veterinary education

Elizabeth A Lane
Journal of Veterinary Medical Education 2008, 35 (4): 631-6
Problem-based learning (PBL) replicates life experiences to stimulate learning, the integration of knowledge, and lifelong learning skills, all of which are requirements for veterinary medical education. As the curricular content of veterinary schools expands to immense proportions following advances in medical knowledge and biotechnology, it becomes impracticable to ensure that all students at the beginning of their careers have such a wide knowledge base. Students who are faced with vast amounts of information to learn by rote, much of which may seem irrelevant to their prospective career, may become disillusioned with their chosen course, hence the temptation to convert to a PBL curriculum. The PBL strategy of teaching is becoming increasingly popular in veterinary faculties worldwide, encompassing both curriculum content and a process of learning. In PBL, clinical cases are carefully selected to provoke deep student learning by the acquisition of both basic scientific and clinical knowledge critical to the case; cultivate problem-solving abilities; and encourage the development of team-building, self-directed learning, communication, and self- and peer-assessment skills. Problem-solving skills, understanding of the basic sciences, and clinical performance are all improved by the PBL process. The aim of this paper is to review a decade of literature pertaining to the inclusion of PBL in veterinary and medical curricula.

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