West African Journal of Medicine, 2007
"BACKGROUND: A major global pedagogical shift has occurred in the way medicine is taught over the last half a century. Problem-based learning (PBL) has emerged as one of the most popular, of these learner-centred new methods.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the evolution and educational principles of PBL and the feasibility of implementing it in the West African subregion.
METHODS: Key literature detailing the history, educational value and principle behind PBL were reviewed. Issues regarding the implication of implementing PBL to West Africa were deduced and suggestions made for the way forward.
RESULTS: Since its introduction in McMaster University in Canada in the 60s, PBL has spread all over world. It is rooted in sound educational theories like the Kolb's experiential learning, adult education, collaborative learning, contextual learning and constructivism. Compared to traditionally trained students, PBL students find learning more enjoyable and develop better relational and professional skills. They show more causal reasoning in diagnosis and become better lifelong learners. Issues that may affect its implementation in West Africa include high start up costs, lack of supporting educational technology and relative lack of medical school managers with appropriate medical education background to assess and evaluate such innovations.
CONCLUSION: The evidence for the need for a change from the traditional method of training is overwhelming. Implementation of PBL as an educational method in medical training in the West African subregion is both desirable and practicable if we address some of the issues outlined above."