June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
New Engineering Educators
11.1025.1 - 11.1025.11
Problem, Project, Inquiry, or Subject-Based Pedagogies: What to do?
When trying to determine the most effective approach for enhancing student learning, engineering educators may feel overwhelmed by the myriad of pedagogies and variety of results presented in the literature. One may choose from a wide and potentially confusing array of teaching methods including problem-based learning, project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, subject-based learning, active learning, cooperative learning, mixed methods, and others. Both new and experienced instructors may be appropriately hesitant to risk a new approach, but also unsure of how to evaluate or manage that risk. In this paper, we will briefly describe the pedagogies of project-based learning, inquiry-based learning, subject-based learning, and mixed methods. We will then discuss a framework by which an engineering educator could evaluate the potential benefits and risks of adopting a particular pedagogy in a specific course. This is done by identifying factors relating to students, instructor, course, and institution. While there is no one universal best choice, this paper will examine the merits, risks, and implementation strategies of various pedagogies as they relate to these factors.
New or experienced engineering educators may have a sincere desire to enhance student learning but not be sure how to approach this task. Although engineering educators may have some understanding of active learning, cooperative learning, and problem-based learning, they may not have in-depth knowledge nor know which approach is best for their own classes or students. Indeed, the literature shows a large multitude of pedagogies, each of which has promoters citing compelling evidence for its adoption. Further, attempting a new pedagogy may require unclear but substantial investments of time and resources, investments that might not pay off if the pedagogy is not well-matched to the instructor’s particular course and environment. Thus the decision to try a new pedagogy is characterized by both benefits and risks. Both of these may covary with many situation-specific factors such as the instructor’s tenure status and students’ prior expectations. One thesis of this paper is that traditional and non-traditional pedagogies both have advantages and disadvantages. To help the educator address these difficult decisions, this paper aims to 1) provide an overview of the major pedagogical options for engineering courses and 2) delineate the major situational factors that influence the risks, benefits, and implementation strategies of these pedagogies.
Overview of pedagogies
This paper does not provide detailed guidance towards implementing any particular pedagogy. Rather, a brief overview is given and appropriate references cited.
Malicky, D., & Huang, M., & Lord, S. (2006, June), Problem, Project, Inquiry, Or Subject Based Pedagogies: What To Do? Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1019
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