In this chapter, we will describe the emergence of problem-based learning as an approach to higher education, first at McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences in Canada and then worldwide. Problem-based learning did not appear out of the blue but had several precursors: First in the work of Dewey who established an experimental school at the University of Chicago based on the idea that learning is more interesting if the learner is actively involved in his own learning. The second source of influence was the Case Study Method pioneered at Harvard University in the 1930s of the previous century. And the third source of influence to be described is Jerome Bruner's learning by discovery from which the idea that a problem could be the starting point for learning originated. Problem-based learning has eventually developed into three different strands or Types, that agree on the basic elements of the approach but see different goals for it.

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Erasmus University Rotterdam