Problem-based learning groups generally span a size of 5 to 8 students. But what happens when PBL "small" groups start to expand to not-so-small group sizes?
This article details a "clustered PBL" approach where students are divided into 16 groups of 20 - 21 students per group. Each group is subdivided into 7 subgroups that have "clusters" of 2 to 3 students each.
Kingsbury, Martyn P, and Joanne S Lymn. Problem-based learning and larger student groups: mutually exclusive or compatible concepts - a pilot study.
BMC medical education 8(2008):35-.
This clustered PBL methodology can be successfully used with larger groups of students. The key to success lies with challenging and well situated clinically relevant cases together with enthusiastic facilitators. Facilitator enjoyment of the PBL process may be related to adequate training and previous PBL experience, rather than academic background. The smaller number of facilitators required using this clustered PBL approach allows for facilitators with 'a belief in the philosophy of PBL' to volunteer which would again impact on the success of the process.