Introducing a problem-based learning program: 12 tips for success

Med Teach. 2011;33(10):808-13. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.558137.


Background: Worldwide many universities are changing their curricula and introducing integrated problem-based learning (PBL) programs. However, the introduction of a PBL program is a demanding process and requires resources, a lot of planning, and organisation.

Aims: This article aims at providing practical tips for preparing a PBL program. It highlights key challenges to create such programs and offers possible solutions to common challenges encountered.

Methods: Personal experience in introducing PBL programs in several universities together with key principles highlighted in the literature have been presented and discussed in light of the current medical education research.

Results: Introducing an integrated PBL program requires continuous support from the Dean and the Vice Chancellor. An essential step in this process is preparation and engagement of the faculty so that academics and clinicians become aware of the rationales for the change and work as part of a team in the construction of the new program. Consulting with other Departments of Medical Education that have introduced PBL, may help in avoiding common mistakes and providing a practical advice.

Conclusion: Although there is no panacea for the introduction of a PBL program, this article addresses keys for successful introduction of such programs.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Educational Status
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Problem-Based Learning / methods*
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Schools, Medical / trends*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Students, Medical
  • Teaching / methods*