Penn State

Carol F. Whitfield, Ph.D. - Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Penn State College of Medicine, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Book Title: Problem-Based Learning: An Approach to Medical Education

Author: Howard S. Barrows, M.D. and Robyn M. Tamblyn, B.Sc.N.

Book Description:

The book that has made the biggest impact on my career at Penn State is Problem-Based Learning. An Approach to Medical Education by Howard S. Barrows, M.D. and Robyn M. Tamblyn, B.Sc.N. My interest in medical education has been long-standing, but when I became involved in a task force to design a new curriculum for Penn State College of Medicine, the lure of problem-based learning was inescapable. In 1992 I was appointed as a co-director of a curricular track, where problem-based learning and self-directed learning were the major learning stimuli for students. There were no lectures in this track. The success of this track eventually led to another curricular revision in 1997, where problem-based learning was instituted for all medical students. It is now evident that this pedagogy can apply to any discipline. During this time, my career path changed from basic science research/teaching to educational development and administration. I have never regretted the switch in my goals, and still recall the excitement I felt when first reading the Barrows and Tamblyn book.

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