Introducing problem-based learning (PBL) into a foundation programme to develop self-directed learning skills

Sharon B. Malan, Mdutshekelwa Ndlovu, Petra Engelbrecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports on the qualitative aspects of a study that examined whether introducing a Problem-based Learning (PBL) approach in a one-year foundation programme can create conditions for learners to develop and sustain self-directed learning skills.This interpretiveconstructivist case study was located in evaluation research. Data were collected by means of classroom observations and interviews with 35 students and 14 former students. Findings indicated that introducing students to a PBL approach did promote more meaningful learning patterns, typified by processing the subject matter critically and self-regulating learning processes. The sustainability of the meaning-directed learning skills was questionable if student beliefs in the approach did not support the activities employed. Introducing PBL into a foundation programme can develop self-directed learning skills in students and set in motion a process of growth towards lifelong learning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number457
JournalSouth African Journal of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Disadvantaged learners
  • Evaluation research
  • Foundation programmes
  • Lifelong learning
  • Mathematics and physical science education
  • Problem-based learning
  • Self-directed learning
  • Self-regulated learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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