PBL 2.0: enhancing problem-based learning through increased student participation

Med Educ Online. 2012;17:17375. doi: 10.3402/meo.v17i0.17375. Epub 2012 Jun 11.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test a new problem-based learning (PBL) method to see if it reinvigorated the learning experience.

Method: A new PBL format called PBL 2.0, which met for 90 min two times per week, was introduced in 2009 into an 11-week integrated neuroscience course. One hundred second-year medical students, divided into 10 groups of 10, who had completed their first year of medical school using a traditional PBL format, participated in PBL 2.0. Students were prohibited from using computers during the first session. Learning objectives were distributed at the end of the first day to the small groups, and students were assigned to pairs/trios responsible for leading an interactive discussion on specific learning objectives the following day. Student-led 'lectures' were prohibited. All students were responsible for learning all of the learning objectives so that they could participate in their discussions.

Results: One hundred and six students were surveyed and 98 submitted answers (92% response). The majority of groups adhered to the new PBL method. Students invested more time preparing the learning objectives. Students indicated that the level of interaction among students increased. The majority of students preferred the new PBL format.

Conclusions: PBL 2.0 was effective in increasing student interaction and promoting increased learning.

Keywords: critical thinking; learning strategies; medical education; problem solving; problem-based curriculum; problem-based learning.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Education, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Problem-Based Learning / standards*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Students, Medical*