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  Problem Based Learning in Medicine Design Team

"University of Sydney Medical Program: Web-supported Problem-Based Learning environment for medical education"


Design Team
  Team: Ryan, Greg (contact)


  Focus: Problem Based Learning
  Discipline: Public Health & Medicine
  Target: Graduate Entry
  ICT used: Web plus special software (content management system, interactive multimedia)
  Scope: Over a program of study

Designer's Summary


The learning design is based on a specific problem-based learning (PBL) approach suited to medical education. Central to the design is a clinical reasoning model that scaffolds student thinking about the role of the basic and clinical sciences and evidence-based medicine in the diagnosis and management of patient conditions.

The selection, structure and online presentation of the PBL case resources are all specified by a clinical reasoning model. The core set of learning resources have been specifically designed to support both the face-to-face PBL tutorial sessions and the integrated independent learning that flows from them on a weekly basis.

Comment from the Project Team...

The level of granularity of this learning design is at the Curriculum level. For purposes of this description, the Learning Design Sequence provided illustrates the Problem-Based Learning approach that is implemented repeatedly during the four years of the study program. The complexity of the problems increases as students progress through their four years of study.

Rationale for Inclusion


This exemplar has been selected for inclusion for the following reasons:

  • The learning design is based on sound pedagogical principles. Problem-Based Learning is the underpinning theory of this learning setting.
  • It represents a complex implementation of the learning design. It is implemented at the Curriculum level. The nature of the problems that students are presented with increase in complexity as they progress through the four-year study program.
  • It represents an ICT-based learning design that has been implemented for more than five years and has undergone extensive evaluation that attests to its effectiveness to assist students achieve the intended learning outcomes.

Comment from the Evaluation Team...

Furthermore, the evaluators of this exemplar concluded that the model of integration of the Problem-Based Learning approach at the whole program curriculum level could be applied in a range of discipline areas.

Please Cite As:

  Ryan, G. (contact). (2002). Description of University of Sydney Medical Program: Web-supported Problem Based Learning environment for medical education. Retrieved , from Learning Designs Web site:
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