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A narrative review of problem-based learning with school-aged children: implementation and outcomes

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This paper reviews empirical studies that have evaluated the impact of problem-based learning (PBL) on school-aged pupils, in order to summarise how it has been implemented and to assess its effects on academic and personal development. Following electronic searches of PsychINFO, the British Education Index and the Cochrane review database, six studies concerned with school-aged learners (11 to 18 years) were identified and subjected to a detailed narrative literature review approach. Drawing on data from relatively small samples of between 14 and 187 pupils, five studies used cross-sectional evaluation designs, and one was a qualitative case study. Findings suggested that school pedagogic practice informed by PBL-based principles could have a positive influence on learners' personal and academic development. However, a need for rigorous studies evaluating the effects of PBL on school-aged learners was evident, to identify effective components for implementation in school settings.
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Keywords: academic performance; effectiveness; individual agency; problem-based learning (PBL); secondary school

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Cardiff Institute of Society and Health (CISHE), School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK

Publication date: 01 May 2013

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