June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.974.1 - 24.974.15
PBL Field Deployment: Lessons Learned Adding a Problem- Based Learning Unit to a Traditional Engineering Lecture and Lab Course Problem-based learning (PBL) has proven to be an effective strategy for preparingprofessionals to meet the demands of the 21st century workplace. When implemented well,problem-based learning mirrors both the technical skills and the soft skills required inenvironmental engineering jobs. These soft skills such as teamwork, argumentation,communication, listening, time management and meeting deadlines are often overlooked in atraditional engineering lecture course (Direito, Pereira & Duarte, 2012). Incorporating a PBLunit to an environmental engineering lecture and lab course provides an opportunity for studentsto improve these soft skills. PBL has become the norm in effective medical school curriculum design (Yadav et al,2011). PBL prepares students to solve the complex, ill-structured type of problems prevalent inthe daily life of working engineers (Jonassen, Strobel, & Lee, 2006). While PBL has been shownto improve learning that is problem-focused, student-centered, self-directed and self-reflective(Jonassen, 2010), few studies discuss the challenges of PBL field deployments. A better understanding of the specific challenges of implementing a field PBL is needed.The goal of this study is to address the literature gap of PBL field deployment methods. Thiscase study will help engineering educators avoid pitfalls that may detract from the benefitsinherent in the effective use of PBL. The researchers identify several important considerations when implementing a PBL labunit in a traditional environmental engineering lecture with lab course. These considerationsinclude working with instructional staff to design the unit, allocation of lab resources, connectinglab and lecture content, padding the unit with extra time, placing the unit in a context relevant tostudents, increasing interactivity, group size and student involvement. This study examines the design of a web based PBL air quality unit and its incorporationinto the lab portion of an environmental engineering course. Researchers employed a qualitativecase study approach. An open-ended survey was completed by 30 participants. The courseinstructors and seven participants were interviewed in-depth about their experience. A groundedtheory approach was employed and emergent results indicate that group size, amount ofinteractivity and alignment between instruction and assessment were key factors impactingstudent learning and overall effectiveness of the PBL approach.References:Direito, I., Pereira, A., & Duarte, A. M. d. O. (2012). Engineering Undergraduates’ Perceptions of Soft Skills: Relations with Self-Efficacy and Learning Styles. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 55(0), 843-851.Jonassen, D.H. (2010). Learning to solve problems: A handbook for designing problem-solving learning environments. New York, NY: Routledge.Jonassen, D., Strobel, J., & Lee, C.B. (2006). Everyday problem solving in engineering: Lessons for engineering educators, Journal of Engineering Education, 95(2), 139-151.Yadav, A., Subedi, D., Lundeberg, M.A., & Bunting, C.F. (2011). Problem-based learning: Influence on students’ learning in an electrical engineering course. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(2), 253-280.
Williams, M., & Ringbauer, S. E. (2014, June), PBL Field Deployment: Lessons Learned Adding a Problem-Based Learning Unit to a Traditional Engineering Lecture and Lab Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22907
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