Universiteit Maastricht

School of Business and Economics

Problem-Based Learning

Discussion and knowledge exchange through Maastricht University's Problem-Based Learning (PBL)

At Maastricht University, we believe that education should be centred on you, the student. Here, you work in small groups that together seek solutions to real world problems. This means that you are continuously exchanging knowledge, experiences and opinions with your fellow students as well as the academic staff. This way of cooperative, active learning is called Problem-Based Learning (PBL). It is driven by a spirit of inquiry that motivates you to go deeper than memorisation and a shallow understanding of concepts.

Problem-Based Learning (PBL) has been at the core of Maastricht University ever since it was founded. It is based on the principle of joining forces to tackle a particular problem. You analyse it from the widest range of perspectives using as many information sources as possible, and together devise potential solutions.

Using PBL, you will encounter a variety of perspectives which enliven the discussion and allow you to experience the true strength in UM’s cultural diversity. In analysing current issues, you improve your understanding of theory and learn how to apply your insights to a variety of topics. Moreover, you master a wide range of skills such as how to effectively present your viewpoint, debate, and write academic papers.

Close contact with academic staff
In the tutorial groups, students have close contact with the academic staff. In PBL they join you in the tutorial groups and act as facilitators. This way you gain the maximum benefit from their knowledge. However, they do not hand you everything you need to know on a silver platter. Rather, you are in control of your academic education. And you are given plenty of room to develop your own talents and interests.

Popular amongst employers
The effectiveness of PBL is demonstrated by the performance of our graduates. They are self-assured, independent and assertive professionals for whom analysing an issue, structuring information, working in international teams, conducting and chairing discussions, and presenting ideas have become second nature. They are professionals who are able to make a smooth transition from university to the job market because they focus on more than just theory; they also learn the skills they need to have a successful career. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that UM graduates are so popular amongst employers.

Maastricht University is the only Dutch university that uses the PBL system to its fullest potential and employs it as its key method of instruction. Universities around the world are now also adopting elements of PBL.