Problem-based learning supports a learning environment in which a problem drives the learning. In our PBL courses, students will be given a complex societal problem with trans-boundary implications. The problem is presented by the instructor so that the students discover what information they need to know before they can understand the problem and design possible solutions. A typical PBL or inquiry course has four basic steps:
- Students determine what they need to learn;
- Students identify resources and how best to use them in their research;
- Students report their findings and work cooperatively to develop possible policy strategies aimed at solving or managing the problem;
- The instructor, fellow students and local experts evaluate the student's work.
In these PBL courses, students work together to learn, as opposed to competing for good grades. They will be able to use their foreign language skills and learn content by engaging in research.