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Reflect on PBL as a Collaborative Teaching and Learning Strategy

Reflect on PBL as a Collaborative Teaching and Learning Strategy

Author: Trisha Fyfe

In this lesson, you will reflect on PBL as a Collaborative Teaching and Learning Strategy.

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Welcome. I'm Trisha Fyfe. And today I'm going to be exploring with you the topic of reflect on problem based learning as a collaborative teaching and learning strategy. As we go through this lesson today, we will discuss the following question, how can you reflect on a lesson that uses problem based learning strategies?

In today's video lesson, I want you to go back to that lesson that you developed, that problem based learning activity where you designed a problem based learning unit using the Understanding by Design method. Remember, that includes stage one, identifying desired results, stage two, determining acceptable evidence, and stage three, creating a learning plan. So in a previous lesson, you were to design your own unit that was problem based learning using Understanding by Design that included virtual and in person collaboration.

So how can you reflect on your lesson that you've created? Today, we'll use the plus, minus, delta reflection tool, plus being what went well, what is working in your lesson, minus being, what did not go well, what is not working, and delta, what can we change? What are the opportunities for improvement in your lesson?

In follow up sessions or instruction, the pluses and the deltas can be reinforced or even reviewed. Another way that you as a teacher can use this plus, minus, delta chart is to do peer reviews with some of your peers after you develop new processes, or lessons, or units. It's important that peers are trained first, that it is a respectful process that's used for improving class processes and experiences. And it needs to be approached from this specific mindset.

For this reflection activity, I'm going to encourage you to use a T-chart with pluses in one column, minuses in the middle column, and deltas in the far right column of your T-chart. Let me give you an example of what this reflection tool might look like. Remember, we spoke of an example lesson, a problem based learning lesson. And we used the Understanding by Design framework to go through this lesson in a previous tutorial.

The sample lesson was that a company was deciding on their energy source. And the students were acting as their consultants. We were asking our students to help determine the best sources of energy for this company. And their job was to help develop the best sources of energy for the plant, create a physical model of the energy sources, and create a written report of research, and a plan for the company to review.

Let's go through some sample reflection. A plus of our sample lesson might have been that high levels of student engagement were observed. Maybe another plus was that there was an obvious transfer of learning as our students completed their projects. So students were making connections between learning. Maybe we heard and observed conversations. Or our students' presentations relayed this information to us.

A sample minus might be that some of our students did not have the background knowledge of renewable versus non-renewable resources. And maybe another minus was that groups that chose multiple energy sources needed more time to complete the activity.

We need to look at the deltas. What can we change to improve these minuses? And one delta for the students not having the background knowledge they needed for renewables and nonrenewable resources, would be to make sure our student groupings where intentional. Another delta might be that we only allow students in groups to focus on one energy source at a time, instead of giving them the choice to use multiple energy sources for their projects.

After developing your lesson and unit, I'd like you to have a peer complete a plus, minus, delta with you. So remember, use a T-chart with plus in the left hand column, minus in the middle column, and delta in the far right column. And think about, what did you learn that you will keep the same? What worked for you? Those are your pluses. What will you change? And why will you change that? Those are your minuses. What did not go well for you? And how will you change it? What are your deltas?

What did we learn today? We looked at the question, how can you reflect on a lesson that uses problem based learning strategies? And I walked you through using a plus, minus, delta strategy to reflect on your lesson that you created in a previous tutorial. Remember that problem based learning unit that you created using Understanding by Design framework. How can we apply these ideas?

Let's reflect using these questions. What were the challenges in reflecting on your problem based learning unit? What will help you to become more successful with developing and reflecting on lessons?

Thanks for joining me today as we discussed the topic, reflect on problem based learning as a collaborative teaching and learning strategy. I hope you found value in this video lesson and the tools that we used, and are able to apply these ideas and resources to your own teaching. To dive a little deeper and learn how to apply this information, be sure to check out the additional resources section associated with this video. This is where you'll find links targeted toward helping you discover more ways to apply this course material.

Notes on “Reflect on PBL as a Collaborative Teaching and Learning Strategy”


(00:00- 00:20) Introduction/Objectives

(00:21- 00:55) Review of Homework Assignment: Develop a PBL Unit Using UbD

(00:56- 01:51) Tools for Reflection: Plus, Minus, Delta

(01:51- 02:06) Plus, Minus, Delta Explained

(02:07- 04:06) Example Lesson and Reflection Using Plus, Minus, Delta

(04:07- 04:46) Homework Assignment: With a Peer, Complete a Plus, Minus, Delta

(04:47- 05:08) Recap

(05:09- 05:54) Reflection

Additional Resources

The reflections of student teachers on project based learning and investigating self evaluation versus teacher evaluation

This is a useful report on reflection from ScienceDirect. 

Learning To Learn: Preparing Teachers and Students for Problem-Based Learning

This article by Karen Ngeow and Yoon-San Kong is a very helpful resource for teachers to use during the reflection process.