Asee peer logo

Teaming with Confidence: How Peer Connections in Problem-based Learning Impact the Team and Academic Self-efficacy of Engineering Students

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Design in Engineering Education Division: Student Empathy & Human-centered Design

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Marsha Maraj Imperial College London

visit author page

Marsha has been an educator in higher education for over 14 years. She is currently a Senior Strategic Teaching Fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London (ICL) where she teaches mechanical design to third-year chemical engineering students. She is enthusiastic about using collaborative approaches and student partnerships in the scholarship of learning and teaching. Her current educational research focuses on exploring the connections among peer learning, social capital and academic motivation.

visit author page

author page

Colin Paul Hale

author page

Andreas Kogelbauer

author page

Klaus Hellgardt

Download Paper |


Engineers will routinely work in teams to solve complex problems. Team-working and collaboration are therefore an integral part of engineering education as they offer enhanced opportunities of acquiring both transferable and subject-specific skills.

This paper examines the experiences of third-year engineering students studying a design-based module which uses problem-based learning (PBL) as the main pedagogical approach where students work in teams of 5 or 6 to achieve the associated learning outcomes. PBL allows students to not only play an active role in their own learning but also affords the added opportunity of learning with and from each other (peer learning). The success of this experience can however, be impacted by the team efficacy which exists or ensues as part of the process. These interactions can influence academic self-efficacy and a key aim of this paper is to use the students’ perceptions of their experiences with PBL to examine the relationships which exist among academic self-efficacy, peer learning and team efficacy within the module.

Findings show that a large percentage of students (85%) felt they learned from each other and that this collaborative experience strongly improved their understanding of mechanical design principles. Self-efficacy scales ranging from 0 (cannot do at all) to 100 (highly certain can do) showed that 65% of students rated their average academic self-efficacy across all learning outcomes as high (above 75). This efficacy was positively related to the support received from peers. Only 6% of respondents indicated that they would be confident undertaking the module by themselves and that while peer-to-peer interactions helped with sharing the workload and producing deliverables, they would have been able to successfully tackle the module alone had the time allotted been increased proportionally.

This information is valuable as it can inform and direct future module design within our programme in which many modules are team-based. This could involve and lead to the introduction of new- and the strengthening of existing peer learning opportunities which could transform the way we teach and learn in our department.

Maraj, M., & Hale, C. P., & Kogelbauer, A., & Hellgardt, K. (2019, June), Teaming with Confidence: How Peer Connections in Problem-based Learning Impact the Team and Academic Self-efficacy of Engineering Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33359

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015