Facilitating learning of community-based rehabilitation through problem-based learning in higher education

Yin Han Eva CHUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The quality of community-based rehabilitation (CBR) personnel is one of the key factors that contributes to the success of CBR programs. Integrating knowledge and practical skills in various stages of the learning process is essential in community-based rehabilitation. Problem-based learning (PBL) is a pedagogical strategy that uses real-world situations as the basis for developing knowledge and problem-solving skills. Through PBL, learners are guided and facilitated in assuming active problem-solving roles in real-world situations. This study developed and tested a framework and a PBL protocol for use in teaching community-based rehabilitation (CBR) in higher education.
Methods: Part I of this study focused on the development of a framework and a protocol for PBL. An initial framework for the development of this protocol was formed based on a review of relevant literature. Concrete guidelines were delineated to describe the application, process, and delivery of teaching and learning. PBL was implemented in three CBR related courses. Students were facilitated to learn CBR in passing various stages of PBL through a self-directed learning process. The cumulative efforts of each group were compiled, recorded, and displayed using e-portfolios. In Part II, the processes and outcomes of using this new learning mode were evaluated using a case study approach to examine the protocol’s efficacy. Focus group interviews, a questionnaire, and a detailed examination of the e-portfolios were administered for evaluation.
Results: One hundred thirty-three students from three CBR related courses were recruited. PBL was regarded as an effective, realistic and practical method that enables critical thinking in CBR. Practicality was addressed by covering context-related materials with the use of real cases or examples. Participants were actively engaged in the learning process and their CBR competence was enhanced.
Conclusions: Through the new protocol, the students were equipped with active learning, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills that should facilitate success in CBR. Copyright © 2019 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number433
JournalBMC Medical Education
Issue number1
Early online date21 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


Chung, E. Y.-H. (2019). Facilitating learning of community-based rehabilitation through problem-based learning in higher education. BMC Medical Education, 19(1). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-019-1868-4


  • Community-based rehabilitation
  • Problem-based learning
  • Health science education
  • Pedagogy


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