Problem-based learning is an innovative and challenging approach to medical education--innovative because it is a new way of using clinical material to help students learn, and challenging because it requires the medical teacher to use facilitating and supporting skills rather than didactic, directive ones. For the student, problem-based learning emphasises the application of knowledge and skills to the solution of problems rather than the recall of facts. It is an approach much favoured by curriculum planners in new and more progressive medical schools. This paper describes the educational basis of problem-based learning and gives an example of how it operates in undergraduate medical education.
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