Readers of this blog know that Problem-Based Learning (PBL) has been on my mind since I began learning about learning; well, my newest PBL guru is Charles Reigeluth,  I just watched a video where he talked of  learning/teaching defined as two spaces:  Problem Space & Instructional Space.

In the Problem Space the learner (or preferably small-group of learners) is

  • introduced to a problem, project or task
  • they explore the problem until they reach a point where they encounter a deficiency in their knowledge or skills
  • at that point they jump out of the Problem Space and into the Instructional Space

The Instructional Space has well-defined instructional modules (simulations, drill/practice, tutorials, etc) that give them whatever they need to progress on their problem.  When they have mastered the skills they need, they jump back to the Problem Space.

This pattern is followed until the learner feels that she has solved the problem, project or task.

I love this idea of how to structure learning because it makes the learner responsible for the learning while supporting her with instruction when/as needed.  In this Two-Space environment learners would remain intellectually-excited because everything that happens in the Instructional Space has direct relevance to the problem they are tackling at that moment.