Neurophysiological circuits involved in the Problem-Based Learning Method: Bridging Neuroscience and Education

Problem-Based Learning: Neuroscience and Education

  • Carolina Baraldi A. Restini Michigan State Univerisity
  • Rosalyn Bloch Michigan State University, College of Osteopathic Medicine
Palavras-chave: Problem based learning (PBL), memory, learning, cognitive abilities, neuronal circuitry


CONTEXT Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional method in which students are driven to learn through facilitated problem solving guided by a teacher. In this learning methodology, the teacher assumes a tutoring role and the students collaborate in small groups that work to identify what they need to learn. We hypothesize that the PBL methodology stimulates the recruitment of cerebral areas to reach substantiated learning by assembling neurophysiological circuits. This paper aims to consider each step within the PBL teaching methodology and connect it to the neurocircuitry involved based on current neuroscience literature. A breakdown for each PBL step includes its pivotal role in the learning processes and explores its foundation in the brain circuitry, such as memory and neural plasticity. METHODS Literature and theories were reviewed to elaborate pertinent concepts in PBL and the neurocircuitry involved. DISCUSSION Currently, the connection between these two fields is poorly approached in the literature, and there is significant evidence that each step of PBL involves well-studied neurocircuitry units. CONCLUSIONS Through its sequential seven steps and spiral-like knowledge acquisition, the PBL method is committed to motivating students to become good learners and, consequently, to provide the key to solid and proactive performance. This is substantiated by the extensive connections that can be drawn within each step of PBL and neuroscience literature. In this sense, some points of the present methodology are feasible for further exploration in order to explore the likely relationship between neurocircuitry and learning.


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