Example 3

PBL tutoring supports learning

In 1998, the University of Helsinki’s Faculty of Medicine transferred entirely to PBL instruction (problem-based learning) in Finnish-language education. Based on the positive experiences, English-language education will also be given as PBL instruction. A tutoring system for PBL groups has been developed to support first and second-year students. In addition to teachers, the tutors consist of third and fourth-year students who have completed their Bachelor’s studies. They receive a salary for the tutoring classes that corresponds to their level of education.

Students who wish to become tutors take part in PBL tutoring training before they can begin working as leaders of a small group in the training program. All the students of the Faculty of Medicine undergo an orientation at the start of their studies. During the orientation period, they are instructed on how to study according to the PBL model by using the PBL model itself. The tutors are also involved in the learning process of the PBL model.

At the start of their studies, students take part in an orientation period where they become familiar with the PBL method. The orientation itself is carried out using the PBL method. The seven steps of problem-based learning are discussed with students by using the seven-step model itself.

PBL tutors instruct small groups of students to work according to the instructions provided during the orientation. The tutors instruct small group sessions, but the main responsibility for leading these sessions lies with the student who has been appointed the chair.

The session proceeds according to an agenda prepared by the student who is the chair. The student who has been appointed secretary records the discussion and the conclusions drawn by the chair. The tutor monitors the session and, if necessary, instructs the group to pursue the learning goals.