This study aims to implement a problem-based learning method and investigate how this method enhances students’ learning performance, specifically in self-regulated learning and higher-order thinking skills for a Financial Management class, involving highly passive learners. The study adopted mixed methods, quasi-experimentally, by comparing a problem-based learning method with a conventional method, i.e. lecture-based learning. The results indicate that, alongside obtaining positive acceptance from the class, problem-based learning outperforms the conventional method by enhancing both students’ self-regulated learning and their higher-order thinking skills, although it lagged behind in maintaining students’ lower-order thinking skills. Future research into problem-based learning implementation in a similar learning context to this study should incorporate some adjustments, such as a more efficient curriculum design and a lower level of problem-based learning to ensure as many participants as possible, including slow learners, benefit optimally from learning through problem-based learning methods.