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Proposing Problem-Based Learning as an Effective Pedagogical Technique for Social Work Education

Authors: Christine K. Fulmer


Social work education is competency based in nature. There is an expectation that graduates of social work programs throughout the world are to be prepared to practice at a level of competence, which is beneficial to both the well-being of individuals and community. Experiential learning is one way to prepare students for competent practice. The use of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) is a form experiential education that has been successful in a number of disciplines to bridge the gap between the theoretical concepts in the classroom to the real world. PBL aligns with the constructivist theoretical approach to learning, which emphasizes the integration of new knowledge with the beliefs students already hold. In addition, the basic tenants of PBL correspond well with the practice behaviors associated with social work practice including multi-disciplinary collaboration and critical thinking. This paper makes an argument for utilizing PBL in social work education.

Keywords: Constructivist theoretical approach, experiential learning, pedagogy, problem-based learning, social work education.

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