Problem-based learning is an especially useful learner-centered instructional approach in which learners collaborate within small groups to solve an authentic ill-structured problem that has no right or wrong answer. However, facilitating and designing problem-based learning can be challenging for instructors as well as instructional designers, especially for learning environments, such as the law enforcement academies, that traditionally have been designed for rote memorization and repetitive skills. The purpose of this basic qualitative research was to interview and explore instructors’ experiences and the factors instructors believed are essential for facilitating problem-based learning in their learning environment. For this study, participants were selected based on their attendance at the 2014 annual conference or by referrals from those attendees. Eleven participants met the requirements of having completed the 2-week problem-based learning instructor course sponsored by an organization dedicated to the advancement of problem-based learning in police training and had 3–5 years of facilitating problem-based learning in their learning environment. In this study, semi-structured interviews with law enforcement instructors were used to provide knowledge and insight about the challenges they experienced, such as resistance to change and instructional strategies used to overcome these challenges, as well as key elements of problem-based learning. Additionally, the findings provided instructional designers insight into how to design problem-based learning instruction using effective instructional strategies identified by participants. Moreover, participants provided instructional strategies on how to move from a teacher-centered learning environment focused on lower level skills to a student-centered learning that foster problem-solving and critical thinking skills using real-world situations. A recommendation for further research is to conduct a study on a larger sample to explore facilitators’ experiences when facilitating problem-based learning. A second recommendation calls for a study to identify ways for educators and training and development professionals to promote the benefits and value of the problem-based learning process to their agency leadership and educational institution administration. A third recommendation is to conduct a study with a targeted audience of instructional designers who have designed and developed training for the law enforcement field and who use a student-centered approach to explore further strategies used to incorporate real-world instructional methods that enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
|Commitee:||McCoy, Douglas, Moller, Les, Zender, Wendy|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 78/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Adult learners, Constructivism, Critical thinking skills, Problem-based learning, Problem-solving skills|
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