Twelve tips for constructing problem-based learning cases
Background: One of the key elements for introducing a problem-based learning (PBL) programme is constructing good PBL cases. Good cases should reflect the educational principles of PBL including (a) integration of basic and clinical sciences together with professionalism and psychosocial components, (b) encouragement of discussion of cognitive domains such as identification of problems, generation of hypotheses, construction of an enquiry plan, weighing evidence for and against each hypothesis, interpretation of findings, construction of mechanisms, using evidence to refine the hypothesis and construction of a management plan, (c) encouragement of discussion of cases in small groups with an emphasis on student-centred learning, (d) promotion of collaborative learning and contribution of students to the case discussion and (e) encouragement of teamwork and self-directed learning strategies. Aims and methods: Despite the importance of construction of good PBL cases to the success of a PBL programme, the art of construction of these cases is understudied or described in the literature. Based on our experience in PBL and evidence from literature, we described 12 tips for constructing good PBL cases. Results and conclusions: Constructing good PBL cases is an art that necessitates teamwork and input from several different disciplines. Cases should be constructed using a template reflecting the educational objectives of the programme. This approach will ensure optimum learning outcomes and consistency in the design and delivery of cases.