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An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Project-based Learning on Students’ Skills in Engineering Modeling and Design Courses

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Active and Cooperative Learning in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Safeer M. Khan P.E. Arkansas Tech University

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Dr. Muhammad Safeer Khan received his PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Presently, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Arkansas Tech University, Russellville, Arkansas. Dr. Khan is a licensed professional engineer in the State of Arkansas. He has over 12 years’ experience of innovative and design-driven research to develop smart applications for automation, environmental monitoring, condition based maintenance, and humanitarian projects. He is actively involved in IoT related work through Global City Team Challenge (GCTC) Wireless Super cluster. Dr. Khan has undertaken numerous projects related to smart city applications especially water quality monitoring, emergency management, and smart transportation. He has demonstrated expertise in engineering management, technical support to ensure optimum availability/reliability of electrical/electronic systems, and implementation of maintenance philosophies. Dr. Khan is member of IEEE, Humanitarian Activities Committee - Subcommittee on Event Awards, IEEE Industry Applications and Signal Processing Societies, and Vice Chair of IEEE Arkansas River Valley Section. He is also Chair-Elect of American Society of Engineering Education Midwest Section (Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska). His research interests include Internet of Things, machine learning, signal processing, optimization, and engineering education.

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Mohamed Ibrahim Arkansas Tech University

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Mohamed Ibrahim, PhD
Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction
College of Education
Arkansas Tech University
(479) 964-0583 ext. 2452

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Ability to model and design engineering systems is an important outcome of engineering education. Within the undergraduate engineering curriculum, the students pursue project-based learning (PBL) especially in courses involving modeling and design of engineering systems. The students undertake various stages of engineering system design including problem definition, background research, requirement specifications, brainstorming to choose a solution, prototyping, design review, and communicating outcomes. Students also get a chance to work in diverse teams and learn to work across gender and other boundaries. To measure effectiveness of the PBL approach, there is a need to identify critical skills that should be focused during the modeling and design education. We have collected data from undergraduate junior-standing engineering modeling and design students at our university through a longitudinal study spanning the last three years. The statistical analysis has helped us identify important factors that can influence success of students in their future engineering careers. These include problem solving, communication, and logical thinking skills, perception of self-efficacy to develop students’ self-belief, and their course grades. The purpose of present work is to examine the effect of PBL activities on engineering students’ grades and self-efficacy. Furthermore, we investigate whether there is a difference between students’ course grades based on their gender after engaging in PBL activities. Finally, we also examine the relationship between students’ course grades and their problem solving, communication and logical thinking skills after engaging in PBL activities. The results indicate that PBL approach significantly improves the self-efficacy and course grades of students. The PBL methodology was equally effective in improving student learning outcomes of both male and female engineering students. Significant improvement was observed in self-efficacy and course grades of both male and female students when the PBL strategy was employed. We also observed statistically significant difference between students’ problem solving, communication and logical thinking skills before and after engaging in PBL activities.

Khan, S. M., & Ibrahim, M. (2020, June), An Investigation of the Effectiveness of Project-based Learning on Students’ Skills in Engineering Modeling and Design Courses Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34139

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