Problem-Based Learning: Designing Online Courses Using A Constructivist Framework
A case study was undertaken to understand how a problem-based learning environment can be designed for undergraduates such that collaborative behaviors between and among peers and instructor are maximized, face to face as well as online. Using constructivist learning theory we examined where students gain their confidence when solving problems, what role peers and instructors had in facilitating problem solving, and to what extent students use technology in accomplishing course work related to problem solving. These factors were first examined using a face to face course in order to better understand how to design an online course that would facilitate problem-based learning. This paper reports these data, how they were used, and also reports the qualitative findings from the pilot online offering of the course. In total, the results provide a holistic picture of the course development life-cycle and how it can be realistically informed by constructivist learning theory such that collaboration can be facilitated in order to create a problembased learning environment. Faculty and administrators considering online course development as well as those examining the efficacy of traditionally delivered courses in regard to student learning in a problem-based environment can utilize the results.