Problem-Based Learning FLC

Consistent with the MTSU Quality Enhancement Plan goals to enrich the undergraduate student experience, the MT Engage Program and the LT&ITC are sponsoring the Faculty Learning Community on Problem-Based Learning.

Problem-based Learning (PBL) is shown to increase the connection between academic content and the world of actual practice, in that PBL uses real-to-life simulations to frame the learning of specific content. This approach to learning is well supported by successes in the training of physicians, business leaders, engineers, teachers, and many others. It has been successfully used at all grade levels, and will work in virtually any classroom situation.

In crafting a PBL it is important to create a “solution space” wherein learners will work to solve the problem. PBL practitioners write job-specific scenarios for use in experience-based learning. Students use a PBL Learning Grid to identify the problem(s) associated with the PBL scenario. The Grid allows students to list what they know, need to know, and to pinpoint sources of information. Instructors, in turn, use the Grid in the writing process. By establishing desired outcomes and working backward, they are able to more clearly visualize the solution space that they expect their learners to create. This approach to education is fundamentally different from traditional lecture methods, and results in learners that are more engaged in the content of the course.


  • Enhance undergraduate student success at MTSU.
  • Strengthen a learner’s ability to function in tasks that require skills in managing group learning. Such skills include leadership, time management, self-confidence, self-motivation, and the use of technology.
  • Assist instructors in their efforts to encourage the use of problem-solving skills and critical thinking in their students.
  • Support curricular efforts that foster research/scholarship skills among MTSU undergraduate students.
  • Develop an instructional approach that emphasizes communication (oral presentation skills, written skills, and personal communications)


The interests of this FLC will emerge from a collective inquiry into the nature of androgogy as well as pedagogy, problem-solving, the development of critical thinking, and the role that PBL can play in effective instructional practices. Anticipated activities of the FLC may include, but are limited to, the following:

  • FLC participants will collaborate in a PBL environment that addresses the effective use of PBL in university courses.
  • Individual research into topics of interest to each FLC participant.
  • The sharing of resources relevant to the topics identified by the participants.
  • Coursework designed by FLC participants for use in their own classes.
  • Special guest speakers who will describe best practices in PBL.
  • Panel presentations/workshops on the use of PBL in university settings.


This FLC will be composed of 8 faculty members drawn from across the university, with the goal of a broad representation of university colleges. Preference will be given to those who have an interest in learning more about PBL and those who want to use PBL in their courses. We encourage the application of instructors whose courses are related to the MT Engage program.


Dr. Terry Goodin is a nationally recognized practitioner of problem-based learning. He has worked with leaders in the field in the design and implementation of PBL at all levels of education, from elementary school to graduate schools, and in a variety of disciplines, including education, business, engineering, liberal arts and sciences. His ten-year tenure at MTSU has been marked with the use of PBL in numerous courses, and with the development of the Residency I experience of the teacher preparation program known as Ready2Teach. The Residency I Program was recently recognized nationally as an Outstanding Program by the Association of Teacher Educators. He conducts workshops on the use of PBL, and works with individual instructors and teachers in developing the PBL approach for their classes. His model of PBL development was adopted by the six state universities in Tennessee and he delivered training in PBL across the state.

If you are interested in participating in this particular FLC, please complete the application.