Tag Archives: PBL

Enhancing cultural diversity through e-PBL

Chan LK, Lu J, Lajoie SP, Wiseman J, Hmelo-Silver C. Enhancing cultural diversity through e-PBL. The 2nd Asia-Pacific Joint Conference on PBL, 24-28 October 2012. Shanghai, China. Awarded “Excellent Performance in Oral Session”

Background: Exposure to cultural diversity is important in medical education in order to produce global leaders with multicultural sensitivity and communicative competency. E-learning platforms allow learners from different geographic regions and cultures to form learning communities, thus exposing students to a culturally diverse learning environment. This study explores the use of an e-learning platform that allows students and facilitators with different cultural backgrounds to collaborate in PBL centered activities that pertain to communicating bad news.

Methods: Four medical students (two from Canada and two from Hong Kong) took part voluntarily. Two one-hour PBL sessions were conducted (in English) on a web-conferencing programme called Adobe Connect Pro. These two sessions were each facilitated by an experienced PBL facilitator from Hong Kong and Canada respectively. An expert in PBL facilitation was also involved in these two sessions, but was not visible to the students. Preand post tests were conducted to 1) check students’ motivation in learning, 2) test their knowledge about how to communicate bad news to a patient by watching an online video clip,3) allow students to practice communicating bad news with standardized patients, and 4) allow students to reflect on their performance. Data sources included transcript of the PBL sessions, chat logs, and focus group transcripts.

Results and conclusions: Despite some technical issues such as time delay in the audiovisual signals, students were highly engaged in the PBL discussions. We showed that it was possible to engage students and facilitators with different cultural backgrounds in a common PBL session through the use of technology. In the PBL sessions, students explicitly discussed cultural differences in handling sensitive healthcare issues such as communicating bad news.

Using Online Digital Tools and Video to Support International Problem-Based Learning

Hmelo-Silver, Cindy E., et al. “Using Online Digital Tools and Video to Support International Problem-Based Learning.” System Sciences (HICSS), 2013 46th Hawaii International Conference on. IEEE, 2013.


The goal of this study is to examine how to facilitate cross-cultural groups in problem-based learning (PBL) using video triggers and computer-based technology tools. Medical students from Asia and North America participated in two sessions and watched physicians deliver bad news to a patient in two video cases. Experienced facilitators help support collaboration in the two PBL sessions. An expert facilitator provided advice using a chat box in the video conferencing system. This study examines strategies and challenges in facilitating PBL across distance and cultures using both an inductive analysis and Community of Inquiry analysis scheme. Several conjectures were developed for future research.

Advantages of Video Trigger in Problem-based Learning

Chan LK, Patil NG, Chen JY, Lam JCM, Lau CS, Ip MSM. September 2010. Advantages of Video Trigger in Problem-based Learning. Medical Teacher 32(9):760-765.


Background: Traditionally, paper cases are used as ‘triggers’ to stimulate learning in problem-based learning (PBL). However, video may be a better medium because it preserves the original language, encourages the active extraction of information, avoids depersonalization of patients and allows direct observation of clinical consultations. In short, it exposes the students to the complexity of actual clinical problems.Aim: The study aims to find out whether students and facilitators who are accustomed to paper cases would prefer video triggers or paper cases and the reasons for their preference.Method: After students and facilitators had completed a video PBL tutorial, their responses were measured by a structured questionnaire using a modified Likert scale.Results: A total of 257 students (92%) and 26 facilitators (100%) responded. The majority of students and facilitators considered that using video triggers could enhance the students’ observational powers and clinical reasoning, help them to integrate different information and better understand the cases and motivate them to learn. They found PBL using video triggers more interesting and preferred it to PBL using paper cases. Conclusion: Video triggers are preferred by both students and facilitators over paper cases in PBL.

Scaffolding problem-based learning with CSCL tools

[speaker]Dr. Jingyan Lu[/speaker]

Lu, J., & Lajoie, S. P., & Wiseman, J. (2010) Scaffolding Problem Based Learning with CSCL Tools. International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning, 5(3), 283-298. DOI:10.1007/s11412-010-9092-6

Link to HKU Scholars Hub


Small-group medical problem-based learning (PBL) was a pioneering form of collaborative learning at the university level. It has traditionally been delivered in face-to-face text-based format. With the advancement of computer technology and progress in CSCL, educational researchers are now exploring how to design digitally-implemented scaffolding tools to facilitate medical PBL. The “deteriorating patient” (DP) role play was created as a medical simulation that extends traditional PBL and can be implemented digitally. We present a case study of classroom usage of the DP role play that examines teacher scaffolding of PBL under two conditions: using a traditional whiteboard (TW) and using an interactive whiteboard (IW). The introduction of the IW technology changed the way that the teacher scaffolded the learning. The IW showed the teacher all the information shared within the various subgroups of a class, broadening the basis for informed classroom scaffolding. The visual records of IW usage demonstrated what students understood and reduced the need to structure the task. This allowed more time for engaging students in challenging situations by increasing the complexity of the problem. Although appropriate scaffolding is still based on the teacher’s domain knowledge and pedagogy experience, technology can help by expanding the scaffolding choices that an instructor can make in a medical training context.