3.3 PBL case design

PBL sessions will only be as good as the individual cases designed are. Designing interesting and effective PBL cases can be difficult at first, but case designers quickly get better at it with practice.
Without appropriate cases evoking interest and fascination among the students, students will not reach the intended goals of a PBL-session. It may lead to confusion, frustration or loosing interest if the cases unfold to complex or complicated on one hand or too simple or trivial on the other.

Students should have enough – but not too much – prior knowledge to elaborate on the problem and the problem should evoke full attention and interest in dealing with it. Creating an appropriate problem for a problem based learning class is obviously a critical component that helps determine whether or not your session will be successful.
Figure 2 provides an overview of the PBL framework and underlines the importance of the good case design (Schmidt et al. 1995).