Problem-based learning

There is no reason to make this a long page – just work through the steps as noted here and remember to keep notes on your work, as these will inform your self-reflection in the final course portfolio.

1. Prezicast, and an example

First, access and watch the Prezicast on “Problem-Based Learning”, available here in its online form (remember, Prezis can be downloaded for viewing offline from the course Dropbox).

Also, read the example of PBL using ICT, drawn directly from chapter 13 of Information Obesity and available at Have a think about it, and ask yourself – which type of problem (as outlined in the Prezicast) do you think this one falls into?

2. Your own problem

Think of a collective problem that you currently face. It could be something that is to do with your work, or it might be a problem faced by a community that you are part of. Either way, try to think of something that goes beyond just your personal sphere, and is faced not just by you but by a group of people. (If you honestly live a problem-free life in that respect, think about global problems; but the task is better thought about at a more communitarian level.)

Then think about in much the same way as the Hebden Bridge example. Ask yourself:

  • What type of problem is it? (It might have elements of more than one type.)
  • What information might you and others need to solve this problem? From whom, or where, might you retrieve, or produce it?
  • What technologies might help you out? What skills? What specialist knowledge?
  • What criteria would be used to judge the relevance of this information? How might your criteria differ from those of the other people involved in the problem?
  • What obstacles might get in the way of finding out this information? Or otherwise making best use of it?
  • What information might you look to produce, as a way of helping solve, or at least address, the problem? (As in the example of the schoolchildren making some kind of presentation to local businesses, the council, etc.)

There is no need to come to any conclusions about the problem, nor even to go about starting to find information. However, this should still give you some insight into the multifaceted and multi-levelled nature of information literacy, and how to solve any collective problem requires judgments to be made at all sorts of levels: individual, personal preferences; group negotiations; cultural preferences; and so on. This should prove very valuable when you go on to try to understand the triadic model of informational relationships.

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Media and Information Literacy by Andrew Whitworth/University of Manchester is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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