June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Electrical and Computer
15.984.1 - 15.984.6
PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING IN AN UNDERGRADUATE ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING COURSE
As engineering education has moved from didactic instruction to more learner-centered methodologies, new and innovative techniques are being used to teach engineering student. One such technique is problem-based learning. Problem-based learning (PBL) has its roots in medical field, where it has been used for over a century to portray the complex and ill-structured nature of medicine and to develop complex professional reasoning in medical students. This paper describes an investigation of problem-based learning on undergraduate electrical engineering students’ conceptual understanding. Fifty-five students enrolled in an electrical engineering course at a Mid-western university participated in this student. The study utilized a within- subjects A-B-A-B research design with traditional lecture as the baseline phase and problem- based learning as the experimental phase of the study. Participants completed pre-post tests surrounding the four topics covered in the study. Results suggested that participants' learning gains from problem-based learning were more than learning gains from traditional lecture.
Recently, there has been a shift from using lecture-based teaching methods in the undergraduate courses in engineering disciplines to using a more learner-centered teaching, such as problem- based learning. This shift is fueled by the need for future engineers to demonstrate the use of higher order thinking, problem solving, and interpersonal aspects of a career, such as communication and team-work skills (NAE, 2005). Specifically, the engineering field is seeing shifts in the types of engineers needed to emerge from college ready to participate as active and effective members of a global society. This leads to the search for a new pedagogy that will allow students to have higher critical thinking skills and create problem solvers who can work in the complex and ill structured environment. However, it is not an easy task to teach students to deal with the changing nature and unpredictability of the field and the problems that will emerge. Yet students need to develop skills that will allow them to continually learn, problem-solve, and adapt. One approach, problem-based learning (PBL) has the potential to help students to cope with the demands of the complexities of the field.
Problem-based Learning (PBL) Problem-based learning is a non-traditional, inductive, student-centered approach that centers on the introduction of a real-life problem (Ehrlich, 1998). The problem is “a complex task created by the need to design, create, build, repair, and/or improve something” (Burgess, 2004, p.42). The students seek to solve this problem through investigation such as inquiry, creating and testing hypotheses, collecting data, obtaining and utilizing resources, and independent and collaborative research. PBL was developed in the 1950s to respond to criticism that traditional lecture did not prepare medical students for problem-solving in clinical settings (Hung, Jonassen, and Liu, 2008).
Problem-based learning in engineering education. The fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education have increasingly implemented problem-based
Yadav, A., & Lundeberg, M., & Subedi, D., & Bunting, C. (2010, June), Problem Based Learning In An Undergraduate Electrical Engineering Course Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16597
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