June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.821.1 - 22.821.14
Implementing Problem Based Learning in Materials Science Problem based learning (PBL) is a method of instruction that affords the learner the opportunity to be problem-‐solvers rather than passive recipients of information. PBL was first implemented within the medical schools, however, there are few PBL initiatives the engineering, especially at the undergraduate level. Supported by a NSF award, we are experimentally comparing a PBL version of a junior level course, Engineering Materials, with a traditional, topic-‐based version of the course in order to assess the effects of problem-‐based learning on undergraduate students’ abilities to solve professional problems, engage in higher-‐order thinking and reasoning, and develop self-‐regulated learning skills that can be applied throughout their studies and careers. In the PBL version, students work in groups of five to solve five materials selection problems and three materials failure problems. Students are guided to determine the performance problem and necessary performance requirements, material properties required to fulfill those performance requirements, structural properties that afford those material properties, materials selected and processing requirements, and an argument supporting their choice. This paper reports on implementation issues in the first year of the project. Groups are being thoroughly compared using multiple instruments during the 2010-‐2011 academic year. The present study serves to understand student perceptions of the PBL process. Specifically, the study seeks to elucidate the learning processes, group dynamics, and implementation issues that play a role in the PBL implementation. In this implementation study, we sought to determine student perceptions of the PBL version of the course in order to redesign course requirements for the second, experimental year. At the end of the PBL semester, 15 students completed a semi-‐structured interview. Data were recorded and transcribed. During the analysis phase, a grounded theory approach to analyze the interviews. Two researchers independently analyzed the data and created axial codes. After the initial pass, the researchers later reconvened to understand similarities and solidify final coding categories. Analysis identified the following issues: • Disconnect between problems and exams (separate activities that invoked separate study strategies) • Little idea of how much they learned from problems (conception of learning is so dominated by exams) • Ignored argument scaffold • Need for more feedback after completing problems • Poor collaboration strategies • Requests for lectures This implementation represented an instructional paradigm shift for students, who had developed excellent scripts for traditional learning. Student needs will lead to more feedback, more collaborative support, and the elimination of traditional exams in the next implementation.
Jonassen, D. H., & Khanna, S. K. (2011, June), Implementing Problem Based Learning in Materials Science Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18102
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