PBL conference a success

January 2012

Last fall UBC Dentistry hosted the 7th International Conference on Problem-Based Learning in Dentistry: Elements of a Successful Program, in Whistler, BC. The four-day event, held in September 2011, brought together the international dental education community to share problem-based learning (PBL) experiences and questions. The conference was designed to be an advanced forum for disseminating, discussing and debating the elements of small-group, student-centred learning.

Sixty-six people attended the conference, including participants from Australia, China, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kuwait, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand and the United States. International participation has grown each succeeding year of the conference as awareness of PBL increases around the world. There was also a strong cohort of participants from British Columbia.

PBL2011 Whistler

Conference organizers report that the conference received 4.27 out of 5 in the overall rating of its program based on evaluation questionnaires completed by participants.

The opening plenary, Self-Assessment, Self- Direction, Self-Regulation and Other Myths, by UBC professor Glenn Regehr from the Centre for Health Education Scholarship and the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Surgery, set a high note for the entire conference.

Participant feedback noted the quality of speakers and the richness and pertinence of ensuing discussions. Interactive sessions were popular: presenters sharing their experience and expertise, and inviting the session attendees to “think on their feet” about the practical implications of PBL. The diversity of perspectives from the speakers and participants in the interactive discussions was appreciated, especially by the international audience who are faced with similar challenges regarding PBL in dental education.

Other aspects of the conference widely appreciated were the networking opportunities, where participants could connect with colleagues from around the world. And many participants commented on the wealth of ideas and resources they would be bringing back to their institutions.

Visit the 2011 conference website

For more information about UBC Dentistry’s PBL pedagogy, read “Problem-Based Learning—Classical Antiquity Comes of Age” from the fall 2010 issue of Impressions online