Using Groups and Peer Tutors in Problem-Based Learning Classrooms in Higher Education

Using Groups and Peer Tutors in Problem-Based Learning Classrooms in Higher Education

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8177-3.ch009
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


This chapter will inform higher education faculty and students on a broad spectrum as to the different levels of using groups within PBL. This chapter begins with an overview of PBL and the integration of using groups within the online setting. The chapter also discusses the notion of good teaching requirements using a variety of means and appropriate responses in various situations. Problem-based learning is a long-established form of student-centered learning. The foundation of PBL in academic settings is to increase student engagement and encourage interactive learning. Next, PBL in peer teams will be discussed with integrating interactive learning, and details of what this means in higher education and how to use various media to enhance student collaboration will be given. This chapter will include discussions to using peer teams in problem-based learning classrooms. Finally, the use of peer tutors in PBL classrooms in higher education will be included in addition to the various types of peer tutoring that are foundational to 21st century learning.
Chapter Preview

Pbl In Academic Settings

Around the 1970s, other universities within the United States, the Netherlands, and Australia were also implementing various aspects of PBL curricula (Schmidt, 2012). PBL has evolved in to every facet of education from what originally started in higher education to K-12 in addition to various professions implementing PBL (Hung et al., 2008). The most important aspect to PBL is it engages students to be self directed learners in addition to collaborating on finding answers and potential solutions to problems (Garcia et al., 2017). PBL outside the medical field and to other aspects of higher education and K-12 education gradually occurred throughout the 1990s. The introduction of PBL in to the K-12 setting was first introduced in 1993 where teacher training programs for all high school core teachers took place in addition to developing PBL curriculua (Hung et al., 2008). Due to the pandemic of 2020, COVID 19 has brought on a multitude of challenges. PBL in academic settings ranges from traditional face to face settings, to hybrid, to fully online where instructors in higher education think of innovative ways to increase learning among students using the virtual setting. Instructors in higher education are charged with learning inventive ways of combining instruction paired with students learning communication, collaboration, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills through PBL implementation (Krzie et al., 2020). Traditional approaches to learning was centered around faculty lectures in a face to face setting, and delivering materials to students, with specific readings and assignments used to reinforce materials. With the challenges of online education in general, a new set of trials arises with how to engage students in rich discussions pertaining, or how to promote active learning (Smith et al., 2017).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Reciprocal Peer Tutoring: A form of collaborative learning that involves a group of students with a similar education background that interchange group roles of tutor and learner.

Peer-Assisted Learning: Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) involves students who consciously peer assist others to learn difficult content in specific courses, and by doing so, continue to learn more effectively themselves.

Near-Peer Tutoring: Near-Peer Tutoring (NPT) is incorporating a student with one or more years of schooling who provides tutoring and passes on the knowledge to junior students within the same field.

Zone of Proximal Development: The gap between what students can do independently and what they can potentially do with the assistance of more knowledgeable others.

Interactive Learning: Learning that encourages independent or group study through the use of computer technology and electronic media.

Flipped Learning: Inverted learning where students access lecture materials online and engage in active learning through group or instructor guided exercises.

Synchronous Learning: When students learn the same thing at the same time through a lecture delivery (online or face-to-face) and happens in a group setting. Synchronous learning is unified by time and space.

Constructivist Learning Theory: Students are active participants in their learning process and that knowledge is constructed based on their experiences. As events occur, each person reflects on their experiences and incorporates new ideas with their prior knowledge. Works in conjunction with problem based and team-based learning. This model was entrenched in learning theories by Dewey, Piaget, Vygotsky, Gagne, and Bruner.

Cross-Disciplinary Teams: Combining learning through the use of students in teams from different areas of academic focus in order to bring about conversations, reflection, and problem-solving abilities between different stakeholders.

Peer Tutors: A teaching strategy that uses students as tutors.

Peer-to-Peer Tutoring: Peer-to-peer tutoring (PTP) is teaching one higher achieving student with a lower achieving student or those with comparable achievement to complete a problem task.

Asynchronous Learning: General term used to describe forms of education, instruction, and learning that occur outside of one location and not at the same time. Resources for asynchronous learning are shared outside of time constraints among a group of people.

Team-Based Learning: Instructional strategies that involve individuals who are part of high-performance teams which can dramatically enhance the quality of student learning by increased problem solving skills, reducing lecture time with faculty, and promoting team work.

Blended Learning: Synonymous with hybrid learning where education is combined using online educational materials and opportunities for interaction both online and with traditional face-to-face classroom setting.

Social Networking: The use of dedicated websites or media applications used to interact with others, or to find people with similar interest to oneself.

Scaffolding: Skills that students learn once teachers or tutors model or demonstrate how to solve a problem and then allow students to solve the problem on their own or in groups.

Peer Teams: Peer teams is defined as small groups of students, collaborative learning in which students work together to solve a problem or complete a task.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: