Problem-based learning has been applied since 1974 at Maastricht University. Many years of experience have been accumulated and lots of research has been done. Here you mind find some explanations and some of that research.
Flexibility in learning: a case report on problem-based learning
CPM Van der Vleuten, AJJA Scherpbier, WHFW Wijnen, HAM Snellen
International Higher Education, 1, 17-24.
A description on how problem-based is used in the Maastricht medical training program. An innovation on the use of real patients as a starting point for learning and its effects can be found here. How effective this school has been in problem-based approach is to be found here.
Problem‐based learning: Future challenges for educational practice and research
DHJM Dolmans, W De Grave, IHAP Wolfhagen, CPM Van der Vleuten
Medical Education 39 (7), 732-741.
Four modern insights into learning, constructivist learning, self-directed learning, collaborative learning and contextual learning explain why problem-based learning is effective.
Effects of conventional and problem‐based learning on clinical and general competencies and career development
J Cohen‐Schotanus, AMM Muijtjens, J Schönrock‐Adema, J Geertsma, CPM Van der Vleuten
Medical Education 42 (3), 256-265.
One of many more studies showing that problem-based learning has an effect on general competencies.
Differential student attrition and differential exposure mask effects of problem-based learning in curriculum comparison studies
HG Schmidt, AMM Muijtjens, CPM Van der Vleuten, GR Norman
Academic Medicine 87 (4), 463-475.
Comparisons of problem-based learning curricula with traditional curricula usually don't find knowledge differences. Correcting for attrition effects shows problem-based learning may also have a positive effect on knowledge.
Rethinking the globalisation of problem‐based learning: how culture challenges self‐directed learning
JM Frambach, EW Driessen, LC Chan, CPM Van der Vleuten
Medical Education 46 (8), 738-747.
Although cultural factors can pose a challenge to the application of PBL in non-Western settings, it appears that PBL can be applied in different cultural contexts.
Students' and junior doctors' preparedness for the reality of practice in sub-Saharan Africa
JM Frambach, BAF Manuel, AMT Fumo, CPM Van der Vleuten, EW Driessen
Medical Teacher 37 (1), 64-73.
Even with little resources problem-based learning may have quite a positive effect on sub-Saharan African doctors’ motivation and preparedness to tackle the challenges of health care practice.
Should we choose between problem-based learning and team-based learning? No, combine the best of both worlds!
D Dolmans, L Michaelsen, J van Merriënboer, C van der Vleuten
Medical Teacher, 37 354-359.
This title is self-evident
Assessment in the context of problem-based learning
CPM van der Vleuten, LT Schuwirth
Advances in Health Sciences Education, 24(5), 903-914.
A historical account of assessment in problem-based learning, including a plea for programmatic assessment for constructive alignment..
A bibliometrics analysis on PBL can be found here.
A Massive Open Online Course on PBL can be found here.