Overcoming the Walmart Syndrome: Adapting Problem-based Management Education in East Asia

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Philip Hallinger
Jiafang Lu


This paper explores design issues to be considered in adapting the problem-based learning(PBL) for use in the context of East Asian higher education and tests its instructionaleffectiveness in a Master of Management degree program at a graduate school of business(GSB) in Thailand. The research analyzes course evaluation data obtained from 20,988student reports over a seven-year period to assess the impact of a locally developed PBLcurriculum on student perceptions of course effectiveness and engagement in learning.Results of growth modeling found that courses offered in the PBL curricular track achievedratings that were significantly higher than ratings achieved in non-PBL Core Courses. Weconclude that PBL was employed successfully in an East Asian context noted for its relianceon traditional educational approaches, but we note the importance of adaptationsboth for curriculum design and instructional delivery.

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