Meeting the Learning Demands of a Dynamic Teaching Era: The Challenge-Based Learning Strategy

Meeting the Learning Demands of a Dynamic Teaching Era: The Challenge-Based Learning Strategy

Belinda del Carmen Carrión Chavarría (Escuela de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico), Abigail Montserrat Molina Rodriguez (Escuela de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico) and Mildred Vanessa López Cabrera (Escuela de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3066-5.ch008


Teaching in the 21st century requires universities to offer educational programs based on skill development, student-centered settings, focus on the needs of the community, and context-rich experiences that prepare graduates for both local and international practice. Several educational strategies and trends have been designed and implemented to incorporate rapid sociocultural and care model transitions. This chapter focuses on the challenge-based learning (CBL) strategy application in medical education to foster a transformative learning experience in which the patient is the center of the educational process. Several examples of CBL are presented, and an analysis is performed of the benefits and difficulties for its implementation in medical education. In the end, there is a discussion about enabling resources and dynamics for excellence in medical education.
Chapter Preview


In the present day, globalized society evolves exponentially linked to its knowledge-based economy. Every day there are new technological discoveries, challenges, and economic crises. Students and professionals realize that what they learned a year ago may now seem pointless. In an ever-changing society, professions need to meet demands that didn’t exist before. Competition for both institutions and individuals is higher than ever (Yang et al., 2018)

Society is caught in the grip of this crisis, as it threatens the ability of new generations to evolve and therefore achieve success in work and life. The need for action is urgent to solve social, cultural, and economic challenges (Apple Inc, 2008). Particularly, education is faced with its own challenge because traditional teaching methods, like didactic teaching in the classroom, spoon-feeding approaches to teaching, big class sizes, and assessment via summative final examinations, are not enough. Those practices are even perceived as potentially inhibiting students' creativity and growth (Zhou, 2012).

For the advances to take place, creative thinking has become relevant across many areas of modern life, including education, medicine, and art. Evidence suggests that the skills of creative thinking can be learned and taught (Mahdi et al., 2015). In the XXI century, the main challenge for universities is not only to catch up with this evolution but to dream ahead and make an educational offer targeted for skill development, student-centered and focused on the needs of the community, to prepare their graduates for both local and international practice.

Health is a very dynamic pad where challenges and opportunities emerge daily due to indirect factors such as climate change, new disease vectors, and technology. This last one, technology is not just part of the doctors or healthcare team but also of providers and patients who are now equipped with wide access to information by the touch of a screen. Possible diagnoses and suspicious of complications are now available as information in daily life management. This constant access to information makes the need for users and students to be highly critical of the quality and the hidden interests of the information that is available for them (Chan, 2013).

Medical education is constantly in a process of redesign and change. The motivation to use non-traditional methodologies. The motivation to use non-traditional methodologies comes from the observation and experimentation of student behavior in traditional classes; there is a relationship between the type of stimulus received and the engagement of students during a lesson (Scheele et al., 2008). Medical schools have implemented major changes in educational strategies in the curriculum. Some examples offer patient-center education, simulation, challenge-based learning and others have been emerging as part of the new education agenda (Ozkan et al., 2006). In this environment, Challenge-based learning (CBL) has emerged as a leading strategy; it becomes an opportunity where teachers can guide their students across a medical challenge and encourages them to find a real solution. (Apple, 2008).

CBL as a teaching and learning method incorporates technology, teamwork, self-directed learning, peer learning, real-world problem solving, and reflective learning, which can extend from the classroom into the local community (Johnson and Adams, 2011). While in other methodologies the teacher usually proposes the content or problems associated with specific content, followed by practical activities that involve such content, CBL takes first the practical activity to then define the content that must be learned to solve the challenge. In CBL students are expected to ask questions, search the literature, conduct a preliminary survey, consult experts and try themselves hands-on activities (Yeng et al., 2018).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Context-Rich: A design and engagement in a real scenario that integrates the expected learning outcomes related to a desired action from the student.

Simulation: Imitation of a medical escenario or patient case implemented to develop educational skills.

Educator: A group of physicians, nurses, teachers, or co-workers involved in the education and improvement of an individual.

Collaboration: CBL element involves the need and the ability to learn and practice working, sharing, and solving problems in pairs or teams.

Medical Education: Curriculum that involves the subjects, challenges, and training to prepare a full license medical physician.

Tecnologico de Monterrey: Educational private non-for-profit institution located in Monterrey, Mexico, that has a completed medical curriculum for over 42 years.

Extraordinary Challenge: Situation that needs a great physical and mental effort in order to achieve a successful outcome.

Complex Skills: Cognitive and behavioral processes that need to be developed to handle specific demands that surpass the resources of the individual.

Challenged-Based Learning: A pedagogical approach to education where students are faced with real-life problem scenarios and are expected to develop a creative and innovative solution.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: