Reconceptualising Problem-Based Learning in a Vygotskian framework

Stephen Loftus, Joy Higgs

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    Background: Problem-based learning(PBL) is widely accepted as an educational approach that allows students to cope with a growing and dynamic body of knowledge and also to learn ways of applying this knowledge to real life practice situations. However, there is a growing sense that the theoretical basis underlying PBL is inadequate, and that this is preventing progress in understanding and developing PBL for future generations. Discussion: In this paper we advocate the adoption of ideas from the Russian psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, in the study of PBL. Some relevant constructs include the artefact-mediated nature of human consciousness and the 'zone of proximal development'. These ideas can be combined with Vygotsky's emphasison a developmental approach and his use of dialectics. Vygotskian ideas offer a way to develop a theoretical framework that can provide much-needed conceptual breadth and depth in the study and future progress of PBL.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-14
    Number of pages14
    JournalFocus on Health Professional Education: A multi-disciplinary journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


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