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Can problem based learning improve academic performance?

Owolabi, Samuel Olajide; Kyolaba, Diana Sarah

Abstract:
This study delved into the effectiveness of Problem-Based Learning (PBL).Specifically, it attempted to find out if the adoption of PBL can do better than other methods, in enhancing academic performance and an experiment, in which 56 first year Economics students of Kampala International University (KIU) were categorised into experimental and control groups, was used. Before the treatment, a pre test on what the students knew about unemployment was administered to all. The mean score of the experimental group in the pretest was slightly higher than that of the control group. But the difference was not statistically significant. Using the PBL approach, the experimental group learnt about unemployment for a month. The control group was also lectured  for a month on the same topic. At the end of the treatment, a post-test was administered to the two groups. The mean score of the experimental group went up by 22.61 marks while that of the control group increased by 20.96 marks.The difference in academic gains of the experimental over the control group was evaluated using the t-test. The difference was found not to be significant at 0.05% level of significance. Implications are that Economics teachers should not regard the PBL approach—the new fad in teaching methods—as the "magic wand" that could raise the level of academic performance, but to always discern the most suitable method(s) for one to adopt under different situations.

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Document Title: Can problem based learning improve academic performance?
Journal: Kampala International University Research Digest
Volume: 1
Issue: 1
No. of Pages: 32 - 43


Document Type:Journal Article (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Teaching and Learning
Country:Uganda
Keywords:Academic Performance, Problem Based Learning PBL, Pedagogy, Teaching Methods, Teaching, Learning, Learning Outcomes, Learner Centred Education


File Size:293 KB
Rights:Permission granted by author
Date Added:21 February 2008


Owolabi, Samuel Olajide; Kyolaba, Diana Sarah (2007). Can problem based learning improve academic performance? Kampala International University Research Digest vol.1(1)