PBL history

Nearly 100 years ago, John Dewey declared, "School should be less of a preparation for life and more like life itself."

To make medical instruction more "like life itself," instructors at McMaster University presented for students a clinical problem that they could solve only by learning the relevant medical knowledge. PBL proved to be successful, and a number of other medical schools adopted the approach, including Harvard Medical School. Currently, 70% of medical faculties in the US use PBL in pre-clinical years. In Quebec, all medical faculties make use of PBL in medical training. Many medical and professional schools, as well as undergraduate and graduate programs started to use PBL in some form, at varying capacities internationally.

Among these educational innovations, PBL has become well-known and successful. The term Problem-Based Learning was originally coined by Don Woods, based on his work with Chemistry students in McMaster's University in Canada. PBL is mostly linked to the introduction of this educational methods as the medical school of McMaster University.