Ask not only ‘What can Problem-based Learning do for Psychology?’ but ‘What can Psychology do for Problem-based Learning?’ A Review of the relevance of problem-based learning for Psychology Teaching and Research

Regina Pauli-Jones, Sally Wiggins, Eva Hammar Chiriac, Gunar Larsson Abbad, Marcia Worrell

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review


Problem-based learning (PBL) is an internationally recognised pedagogical approach that is implemented within a number of disciplines. The relevance and uptake of PBL in psychology has to date, however, received very limited attention. The aim of this paper is therefore to review published accounts of how PBL is being used to deliver psychology curricula in higher education and to highlight psychological research that offers practical strategies for PBL theory and practice. The paper is divided into three sections. In the first, we discuss the principles of PBL and provide examples of how it can be used within psychology curricula, alongside a consideration of its advantages and disadvantages. In the second section, we outline the results of a systematic literature review of published examples of PBL used within psychology undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Finally, in the third section, we examine some of the ways in which psychological research can provide practical guidance for PBL teaching practice. We conclude this paper with some recommendations for future research across all these areas, and call for the further development of PBL curricula in psychology higher education course provision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136
Number of pages154
JournalPsychology Teaching and Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2016

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