Problem Based Learning

Date Released: 25 February 2016

Case Inquiry (IQ) is a student-centered, small group learning method that is adapted from the “new” Problem Based Learning (PBL) approach introduced at McMaster University School of Medicine in 2005. IQ is the cornerstone of learning in the Western Reserve2 Curriculum. Nine students join with one faculty facilitator three times a week to approach paper cases that naturally evoke inquiry and motivation for learning.

Students develop their own learning objectives for each of two cases on Mondays and then return on Wednesdays and Fridays to discuss the reading, research and learning that they have accomplished relating to their objectives for each case. Wednesday and Friday IQ sessions are highly discussion based and students collaborate to understand key concepts and build knowledge. As with other components of the WR2 Curriculum, the IQ process promotes deep concept learning. Unlike many forms of more traditional PBL, all students within the IQ team are responsible for researching all student-generated learning objectives. This assures that all students take primary responsibility for their own learning and are prepared to discuss all objectives.

Each IQ session ends with a phase called "checkout" that allows for the continuous quality improvement of the team function and provides regular opportunity for self-reflection and peer feedback. Throughout their experience in IQ, students develop skills of teamwork, professionalism, critical thinking and effective utilization of resources (Evidence-based IQ), including primary literature.

As one might imagine, any "new" teaching initiative involves some successes, and some challenges. Joining us to discuss both of those will be Bob Petersen, Professor of Pathology and Director of the Pathology Masters' Program, and Amy Wilson-Delfosse, Professor of Pharmacology and the Associate Dean of Curriculum at the Medical School.

Join us for this discussion on Thursday, February 25th from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. in the Herrick Room, which is on the ground floor of the Allen building (at the corner of Adelbert and Euclid).

Pizza lunch and sodas will be provided at this session. To help us estimate the amount to order, please let us know if you plan to attend this session by replying to this email or sending a message to