The Changing Face of Problem-Based Learning: Social Networking and Interprofessional Collaboration

  • Evelyn L. C. Howe
  • Marc Aurel Schnabel
Part of the Innovation and Change in Professional Education book series (ICPE, volume 8)


Social networking and interprofessional collaboration is changing the face of problem-based learning (PBL). An interprofessional PBL programme addressing the problem of limited community awareness of preventive caries management was undertaken by University of Sydney dentistry students consulting on design issues with Chinese University of Hong Kong architecture students. The PBL programme employed social networking as a platform of engagement between peers and facilitators in the two countries developing solutions to the problem of communication of the oral health message to varied community groups. All groups developed effective design solutions but the superior results of the dentistry-only PBL groups stressed the need for scaffolding modification to enhance synchronous online engagement. In developing collective intelligence social networking offers the opportunity to extend use of PBL beyond geographic and professional boundaries provided synchronous augmented communication is possible.


Oral Health Social Networking Site Knowledge Construction Blended Learning Dentistry Student 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We express our gratitude to the 2009 students from BSc (Arch) Year 3, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and BDent Year 1, The University of Sydney, for their enthusiasm and patience to engage in and contribute to this research as part of their required courses. We wish to thank everybody involved with this project, especially our colleagues Professor Eli Schwarz, Associate Professor Wendell Evans and Ms Lucy Michalewska from the Faculty of Dentistry; Ms Anna Lena Lopez and Mr Alex Russell from the School of Psychology; and Ms Imogen Howe and Mr Justin Cawley from the School of Architecture for their generous support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evelyn L. C. Howe
    • 1
  • Marc Aurel Schnabel
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of DentistryUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.School of ArchitectureChinese University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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