Problem-Based Learning and Mainstream Economics: - Post-Keynesian Economics to the Rescue?
Problem-based learning (PBL) has real-life problems as the natural point of departure. Subsequently theory and methodology needs to be tailor-made to the problem under investigation. Students making problem-based economically oriented projects need to construct their own theoretical framework often by combining different economic paradigms, linking to other social sciences and consulting previous often interdisciplinary research concerned with the problem at hand. This context constitutes a challenge for mainstream economic theory. Its method is not tailor-made for this purpose as the theories are build on assumptions often very remote from real-life economic problems and, hence, difficult to connect or relate to other economic and social science theories. Real world economics like Post-Keynesian economics is far better suited to problem-based work, because they are open to necessary supplement from other schools and social science disciplines. Often PBL-students operate with problems which require them to relate to previous studies of the problem at hand as well as mainstream and heterodox economic theory. This complexity makes students very dependent on the advice and guidance of their supervisor, which needs to be open minded and familiar with both types of economic theory.