Guidelines for Designing PBL Introductions

Education at Maastricht University, known as Problem-Based Learning (PBL), is based on the principles of constructive, contextual, collaborative and self-directed learning. Student who come to Maastricht will encounter a wide variety of applications of these educational principles, both at a bachelor’s and  master’s level. Regardless of their previous educational experience, it will be important that they receive a clear introduction and proper training, preparing them for the way teaching and learning is organized at the programme of their choice.

This framework for designing PBL introductions has been developed by a working group with representatives from all faculties of UM. Its purpose is to provide support for those who develop or review PBL introductions for students – and to facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration between faculties and programmes. The five steps present a cycle: the final stage, evaluation, circles back to the first, mapping pedagogies. For each of the steps in this framework we provide examples from current practice at UM.

Make explicit how you teach in your programme, and how students learn: projects, collaboration, lectures, discussion, research?

How is teaching & learning in our pogramme different to what students have done before: methods, culture, process?

What do students need to know before they begin? Blend explanation and exercise as much as possible: walk the talk of CCCS.

Create opportunities students and staff to reflect on the teaching and learning, within or outside the curriculum.

Evaluate with staff and students. Qualitatively, quantitatively: whatever helps you keep your teaching & learning engaging and effective.

Examples from across UM faculties


Project Leader

Oscar van den Wijngaard

Education Developer