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Project Based Learning

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Instrumentation in Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

15.996.1 - 15.996.8



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Paper Authors

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Asad Yousuf Savannah State University

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Mohamad Mustafa Savannah State University

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Alberto De La Cruz Savannah State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract



Engineering and Technology educators in higher education use Topic-Based Learning (TBL) to present course contents. This method classically relies on numerous attributes, which include the instructor presenting facts to students, a learning structure defined by the sequence of material presented in a text book, discussion of questions or problem solving and textbook oriented labs. This conventional and often successful model of knowledge transmission centers for the most part on the teacher and what they want students to learn and accomplish from theses lectures. Another teaching approach known as Project- Based Learning (PBL) promotes critical thinking utilizing real-life problems as the starting point. Professors and students are expected to play non-conventional roles by engaging in this instructional and learning approach. In a PBL environment, learners practice higher order cognitive skills (analysis, synthesis and evaluation) and are constantly engaged in reflective thinking asking questions that are based on application of concepts from different Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. This paper draws on the lessons learned from different disciplines where PBL has been employed. The motivation behind the development and implementation of PBL in a Data Acquisition course was to help students avoid memorization, to free them from being equations driven and to assist them in learning and understanding concepts through critical thinking. Projects that provide contextual based learning and analysis are implemented in an integrated Data Acquisition Systems course. Projects provide our student opportunities to integrate Engineering Technology concepts to enhance learning. Team consisting of three students work on design of sensor based projects to model, test, and modify system for efficient performance. This paper will present student projects to illustrate the methods employed to implement PBL.


Project-based learning (PBL) is a model that organizes learning around projects. According to the definitions found in PBL handbooks for teachers, projects are complex tasks, based on challenging questions or problems, that involve students in design, problem-solving, decision making, or investigative activities; give students the opportunity to work on projects over extended periods of time; and culminate in realistic products or presentations1, 2.

Over the last decade due to the good feature of Project Based Learning (PBL) such as challenging students with real world problems and empowering students with responsibility for their own knowledge, a number of PBL research projects have been carried out worldwide3, 4, 5, 6, 7 . In PBL, students work actively in groups and build their own knowledge to solve real-life problems. A teacher becomes an instructor who gives only guidelines or direction of the subject. In 1993, Stepein8 developed a PBL model for mathematics, science, and social studies classes at elementary and secondary levels. It was found that PBL increased students learning skill including problem-solving skill, literature searching skill, collaboration skill, and critical thinking skill7, 8, 9, 10. Students also become more responsible for building up their knowledge. Compared with the traditional lecturing, PBL model enhances the quality of student learning in subject matter and foster deeper learning.

Yousuf, A., & Mustafa, M., & De La Cruz, A. (2010, June), Project Based Learning Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16081

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