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A Review Of Problem Based Approaches To Engineering Education

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Projects

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.100.1 - 14.100.15



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Paper Authors


Josef Rojter Victoria University of Technology

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The author has an academic background in chemical and materials engineering at bachelor and master level and a doctorate in engineering education.He teaches primarily in areas of materials, manufacturing and process technology and is an active member at University's centre for innovation and sustainability.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Review of Problem-Based (PBL) Pedagogy Approaches to Engineering Education


The introduction, in 2006, of problem-based pedagogy into undergraduate courses within the School of Architectural, Civil and Mechanical Engineering (ACME), and the School of Electrical Engineering (EE) constituted a significant paradigm shift in engineering education at Victoria University (VU). Educational marketing notwithstanding, the underlying reason for the introduction of PBL pedagogy was to address deficiencies in professional engineering education and reduce the relatively high attrition rates. Given the short time since its introduction, it is difficult to gauge whether the implementation of the PBL teaching methodology has been successful. Anecdotal evidence, to this stage, suggests mixed educational outcomes. This paper challenges the notions of whether a single PBL model to engineering education produces desirable educational outcomes that meet the needs of the profession. It suggests that PBL educational approaches cannot be based on definitive educational theories, and that there are many multi-variant models that define PBL pedagogy. Implementation of PBL into an engineering curriculum needs to be placed in a context and must be developed with careful consideration of the social, economic and ethnic diversity of the student population and the university academic culture. It is argued that the PBL model in engineering education ought to evolve, with a gradual and well considered introduction. IndexTerms – Problem Based Learning, constructivism, engineering curriculum


The re-branding of Victoria University in 2005 as the New School of Thought was a part of the institutional re-positioning in the highly competitive national and, increasingly, global higher education market. The emphasis on student-centred learning and a constructivist educational approach was to be the new eclectic image the university was presenting in the community. The university sponsored report into engineering education at VU recommended the implementation of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) pedagogy into all engineering courses at VU. The underpinning rationale for the adoption of this recommendation was that the implementation of PBL would:

Rojter, J. (2009, June), A Review Of Problem Based Approaches To Engineering Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5823

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