Problem-Based Learning Curriculum
T. P. Stein, PhD
Office of Academic Affairs
One Medical Center Drive, Suite 210
Stratford, NJ 08084-1501
Phone: (856) 566-6739
Fax: (856) 566-6341
Problem-Based Learning at UMDNJ-SOM
The Problem-Based Learning Curriculum (PBLC) is a curricular track available to six students bi-annually. The PBLC was established to meet the needs of those applicants who find problem-based learning an attractive option. It is a two-year program, and with the start of the clerkships in the third year, PBLC students join the rest of their classmates.
What is Problem-Based Learning?
Problem-based learning (PBLC) is the learning which results from the process of working toward the understanding and resolution of a problem. In the PBLC, the problems students encounter are those of actual patient cases, which present in a variety of formats. The patient problems serve as the stimulus for acquiring the basic science knowledge needed to understand underlying mechanisms and they also serve as the focus for the development of clinical reasoning skills. Self-directed learning is motivated by a need to resolve the patient problems. Many patient cases are encountered in real and simulated clinical settings, providing valuable, early clinical experience.
Why Choose the PBLC
Here are some of the reasons why students have opted for the PBLC:
- "PBL is an awesome program. I love the fact that we are able to use cases to tackle all the basic physiology subjects. And I also love the setup of each case, it makes us think. I love the fact that each of us have to be responsible for our learning issues. We have to be experts in our presentations, which make us do thorough research. PBL makes medical school interesting for me."
- " I enjoy the group dynamic; this empowers us early to learn how to deal with people from different backgrounds and with different personalities. Practicing medicine requires that we learn to work together as a team, and PBL nurtures team dynmamics."
- " The extended preceptor experience is probably the most important part of PBL; the preceptor's office has become a place for me to seamlessly extend the topics we discuss in class."
- " We are better prepared all the way around for each step along the way. I think that we can learn more and make better clinicians overall."
- " The self-study process that I've learned in PBL is invaluable. I am much better prepared for life in medicine, ready to research, listen and report."
- " The program gives you the opportunity to think outside the box, not be limited in your learning by what your teacher tells you. It is designed to allow you to spend time learning, and not cramming tons of info that you never look at again."