Republic Polytechnic’s pedagogical approach is based on the ideal of “learning by doing” which in recent decades is considered by many to be the way forward for a progressive education system. To a varying extent, PBL as a way of “learning by doing” is adopted by a growing number of institutions of higher learning.
Faculty at RP agree that PBL is a viable and credible alternative to more conventional approaches to education. Ideas behind PBL are well-supported by findings in scientific domains of human cognition and learning. There are many teachers and major higher learning institutes in the world that have adopted PBL as their mode of providing education. Educators have been showing increasing interest in PBL over the recent decades.
A central tenet of PBL is knowledge integration, facilitating long-term retention and easy association of knowledge components with applications. Students learn to integrate knowledge through struggling with problems. The basic skills set of problem solving process skills and teamwork, developed through the daily practice of small-group collaboration during self-directed PBL sessions, will be of immense value at the workplace of a knowledge-based economy.
In PBL, teachers recognise that students may already know some facets of any subject at any point in time and encourage students to take advantage of such knowledge. PBL also allows students to capitalise on whatever capabilities they have as individuals. Accordingly, a PBL system gives students the opportunity to develop intellectually in ways that suit them best personally.
PBL motivates students to learn because they get to know the impact of their inquiry, work and learning. PBL addresses the question, “Why do we need to learn this?’. Students discern both the context and relevance of what and how they learn. Students develop and practice higher-order thinking when engaged in PBL activities because they are required to formulate their own answers and not try to guess, “What’s the right answer the teacher wants me to find?”. Most important of all, students will learn how to learn through regular practice of developing strategies for information gathering, data analysis, drawing conclusions and evaluating the quality of their solutions to problems.