The aims of the present investigation were to describe and analyse aspects of students' experiences of PBL within three different academic contexts, computer engineering, psychology and physiotherapy. The idea of PBL as an educational approach comprises certain key features that are described in the literature as general and important for student learning. On the part of the student, learning in context and social interaction is highly emphasised together with the importance of developing metacognitive skills. There are however, co-existing descriptions in the literature of what constitutes PBL and what the theoretical evidence for the educational approach is.
The point of departure for the study was that the ways of adopting PBL may look different from the taken-for-granted perspectives of knowledge embedded in the scientific disciplines and their professionai practices. A sociocultural perspective was outlined as a point of departure for this standpoint. The sociocultural perspective of learning, thinking and action focuses on how individuals and groups acquire physical and cognitive resources and the interplay between the collective and the individual level. In this investigation, the interplay between a global and local level is studied by focusing on the ways PBL are implemented from the students' perspective.
Altogether 58 students participated in the study; 20 physiotherapy, 20 psychology and 18 engineering students. Semi-structured interviews, which were tape-recorded and later transcribed, were used as the method of data collection. Data were analysed qualitatively. The physiotherapy students were interviewed in 1993 and the psychology and information technology students in 1997. The results showed that there were differences between how problem-based learning is realised and understood by the students in the three programmes. These differences are described and discussed in relation to the perspectives of knowledge and learning embedded in the programmes that are reflected through the students' experiences.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2001. , 55 p.