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• An interdisciplinary approach that engages students in developing

knowledge and skills to solve ill-structured problems that mirror

occurrences in the real world.

• Requires careful planning to align problem solving activities

with the curriculum.

• Incorporates instructional approaches including anchored

instruction, cognitive apprenticeships, scaffolding , demonstration,
reflection, hands-on learning and project-based learning.

• Assessments are continuous and geared towards demonstration of

understanding as opposed to recollection of facts.
 Student centered approach in which relevant problems are used to
motivate self-directed learners;
 PBL is a situated meaningful activity that builds on prior knowledge;
 PBL is inductive because the content is introduced through problem
solving , as opposed to the content being presented first. This
approach promotes retention of knowledge as people learn by
doing, as opposed to memorization;
 Problems are complex and vague therefore, it requires critical
thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation to create
new knowledge ;
 Students are encouraged to use resources such as the internet,
encyclopedias, journals, periodicals and other sources to acquire
information to solve the problem.
• Model problem solving behaviours;

• Serve as a facilitator, coach and co-learner and provides

guidance to students during the problem solving process;

• Engage students in solving authentic problems that are

relevant and designed to promote cognitive development;

• Monitor progress, provide feedback, evaluate overall

performance based on the assessment criteria.

• Students are active problem-solvers and decision makers rather
than passive listeners;

• They take responsibility for their own learning and ask questions
to seek clarification;

• They show initiative by undertaking research and other methods

of acquiring information;

• Students must utilize prior knowledge, explore, collaborate with

peers and discuss findings as they solve problems in to
enhance understanding and maximize retention potential.
• Authentic problems provide cues, context and motivation for
students to develop higher order thinking as they solve
problems. This prepares them for life outside of the classroom;
• Empowers students to take responsibility for their own learning;
promotes flexible thinking and organization of ideas;
• Helps students transfer knowledge to new situations;
• Encourages student collaboration which leads to the
development of life-long learning skills eg. Communication,
research and problem solving and leadership skills.
• Emanates out of constructivism theory in which learning is created
through the learner’s experience.

• Learning is centered around the student and their societal interaction.

• Is an active based process in which the learner learns by doing

• Learning is a mental construct based on the learner ‘s context.

• Provides a complex learning environment which allows for the

development of problem solving skills to attain the goal.

• Student’s motivation to learn is a core component for goal attainment.

Is based upon student curiosity, previous experience, self confidence,
value of the goal.
• Teacher identifies a skills set to be learned

• Teacher develops a mission/goal/ achievement which

require the target skills

• A focus task is created

• A cover story is created to set the context for the operation

of the GBL scenario

• Plan the operations/ activities within the scenario

• Build a learning environment to support the student in

acquiring the target skills
• Support learner’s efforts and encourage them to achieve goals;
• Provide opportunities for learner to set goals, determine learning
methods and self appraise their progress;
• Enhance student motivation with strategies to gain and focus
their attention, enhance goal value, foster student confidence to
achieve goals;
• Provide students with a complex and realistic learning
environment that would assist students identify and solve
problems and so attain the goal.
• Students participate in setting tasks/goals and so develop
ownership and responsibility for learning
• Determine areas of interest to formulate goals and value to
achieve goal attainment
• Actively constructs knowledge as they make meaning of the
world through the attainment of goals
• Student-centered and can be tailored to learner’s needs;
• Encourages higher level thinking and problem solving skills;
• Student develops self-management and team work skills;
• Actively engages learners in the process of learning and so creates
• Students have a higher retention rate for material learned;
• Student gains self confidence and grows professionally and
• Cross curricular integration and diversity of thought;
• Provides real world experience through the use of authentic tasks;
• Schema accommodation due to different perspectives from other
• Microworlds are tiny worlds where students manipulate
models to explore alternatives, hypothesize and make
discoveries through self-directed strategies. Examples:
Miscall Project, Geometric Supposer, Algebraic Supposer.
• Credited to: Seymour Papert (1980) who developed a
computer language designed to teach mathematics
• The model is designed by the learner
• The designer may provide tools within the construction environment
to support learning activities;
• Little or no training is necessary in microworlds since microworlds
must match learner’s cognitive and affective states;
• Consists of links to multiple representations of the underlying
properties f the model;
• There are a set of challenges or activities which are preprogrammed
for the student to find the solutions to reach a goal.
• Actively engage in constructing and evaluating
• Create and use their own approaches to design projects;
• Students must remain motivated long enough so as to
benefit from microworlds.
• Provide feedback to students so that they can assess their
• Support learning through scaffolding and modeling;
• Serve as a facilitator in helping students manage metacognitive
skills and processes.
• Microworlds develop several skills such as critical thinking,
problem solving, design and predicting as the learner tries
to create patterns and relationships
• Students work in authentic, real world environments that
include coaching, feedback and scaffolding;
• Provides students the opportunity to work collaboratively
with peers;
• Practice is provided to carry out complex tasks and help
students develop learning strategies that be used for self
directed learning.
Driscoll M.P. (2005). Psychology of Learning for Instruction. New
York: Pearson

Engines for Education. Designing a goal based scenario. Retrieved

Microworld. Retrieved from

Reigeluth C. M., Carr-Chellman. (2009). Instructional Design Theories

and Models, Building a Common Knowledge Base (Volume III). New
York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group

What is goal based learning. (October 2012). Retrieved from
based- learning/