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PBL 2.0 is on its way: flexible, creative and tailor-made

Rector promises that EDview conclusions will not be filed away

MAASTRICHT. It is time for a flexible PBL system, one that provides room for creativity, a personal interpretation by lecturers, and one that may differ per study programme. Those were the most important outcomes of the EDview project. Rector Rianne Letschert announced last Tuesday that a steering group would now implement the recommendations in the faculties.

The ideas behind Problem-Based Learning are still popular among staff and students, but the way in which it is put into practice doesn't receive the same level of approval. There is criticism about the inevitable seven-step approach, the size of tutorial groups, testing (‘what do the grades actually say?’ and ‘do we really need them?’), and the introduction to the education system for newcomers.

Time for innovation: the form is no longer sacred, but the philosophy behind PBL is. This was the main conclusions from the EDview project (an initiative by the department of Educational Development and Research (FHML) and EDLAB), in which a team led by Dr. Janneke Frambach searched for the PBL system of the future, in the course of last year. The results were presented at a symposium last Tuesday. They were further elaborated upon in a position paper and a 36-page document with dos, don’ts and don’t knows (still to be investigated) for lecturers, curriculum developers and managers.

During her closing speech, in the presence of the committee visiting the UM for the Institutional Quality Assurance Audit (Instellingstoets kwaliteitszorg, or ITK) this week, rector Rianne Letschert emphasised that the Executive Board and the deans would take the conclusions and recommendations serious. “PBL is more than just the seven steps, tutors should be given the freedom to be creative, albeit within the boundaries of the PBL philosophy. We need to build on the EDview results and share our best practices. That is why I am setting up a steering group, led by professor Erik Driessen and with a mandate from the Executive Board and deans. I invite you all to board our Love Boat. Maybe this is something typical of my generation, but I remember the American TV series about a cruise ship as if it were yesterday.” To continue by softly singing the openings tune. “The text ‘the love boat promises something for everyone’ is more than appropriate in this context. Grab your chance and come aboard.”






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