Understanding the role and practice of nursing lecturers in facilitating problem-based learning for nursing students: a Singapore perspective

Mohd Noor, Asmah (2021) Understanding the role and practice of nursing lecturers in facilitating problem-based learning for nursing students: a Singapore perspective. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

PDF (Thesis - as examined) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Available under Licence Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (2MB) | Preview


This thesis explores the roles and practice of nursing lecturers facilitating problem-based learning for nursing students in Singapore. Educators have used problem-based learning in teaching nursing students to improve their critical skills in making clinical decisions to improve patients’ outcomes.

The study applies the constructivist learning theory as a theoretical framework.


This study aims to understand nursing lecturers’ role and practice in facilitating problem-based learning (PBL) in the classroom for second-year nursing students. It also aims to identify specific challenges and issues faced by nursing lecturers in facilitating the nursing science module for nursing students.

Problem Statement

The shift from a teacher-centred approach to a student-centred approach improves students’ learning. One example of student-centred learning is PBL, where the teacher is the facilitator in guiding the students to learn. Previous research has shown that successful implementation of PBL improves students’ levels of participation, learning outcomes and motivation. The roles of PBL facilitators are complex, and they face many challenges. Almost one-third (30%) of nursing lecturers in the case study organisation are new and have no experience.


This study uses a qualitative research approach to explore the nursing lecturers’ roles and practices in facilitating PBL in the classroom. The researcher used purposive sampling to select the participants. Four participants met the requirements of having at least two years of experience facilitating PBL and clinical experience. The data were collected through documentary analysis, observation and interviews, adopting a thematic approach for qualitative data analysis.


The nursing lecturers provided a non-threatening and conducive learning environment for the students to learn by building rapport and good staff-student relationships. They managed the group dynamics effectively by guiding the students and giving them responsibility. One of the nursing lecturers used music to enhance students’ learning. They also managed conflicts among students during problem-based learning. They engaged the students in PBL by motivating them to work as a team to solve complex problems, using praise, feedback and effective communication skills as tools.


This research has shown that the nursing lecturers adopted various roles and practices in facilitating PBL for nursing students. The findings show that facilitators have adequate knowledge of the subjects they taught and could apply pedagogical knowledge based on their clinical experience and professional knowledge. Creating positive relationships with the students and attending to students’ needs helped develop good relationships with them.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bush, Tony
Chambers, Derek
Keywords: problem-based learning (PBL); pedagogical knowledge; clinical experience; professional knowledge
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Education
Item ID: 65660
Depositing User: MOHD NOOR, ASMAH
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 04:43
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2021 04:43
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/65660

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View