Publication (Journal publications)

Method to Guide the Design of Project Based Learning Activities Based on Educational Theories

García Martín, Javier
Project Based Learning (PjBL) has shown to be effective in engineering to acquire both professional and lifelong learning skills. Nevertheless, some authors assert it is not an easy instructional method to implement. It requires teaching skills and entails some difficulties for both students and teachers, specially related to the time and effort needed to put it into practice. In some countries, the implementation of PjBL has a limited scope, restricted to single courses that do not have a great repercussion in the curriculum. Moreover, some teachers tend to implement PjBL intuitively, based on their teaching experience instead of following important PjBL principies or instructional practices. To facilítate the proliferation and better establishment of PjBL in these countries, it is necessary to engage more teachers in best practices of this methodology, applying its main instructional principies and adequate educational theories. In this way, they could overeóme the difficulties mentioned above and obtain better results in their experiences. This study is aimed at defining a method to design activities based on PjBL. This method guides teachers in the use of PjBL principies and several instructional design models. In particular, the method deals with the definition and articulation of an appropriate problem. In addition, it faces three fundamental issues in active learning and especially in PjBL: Students' Motivation, Supporting Students' Work and Autonomous Working. This proposal is specially focused on those academic contexts in which instructors are starting to use this methodology and students are not used to dealing with ill-structured projeets, and consequently they could find important difficulties in its implementation. The method has been put into practice in three courses, where first results seem to be satisfactory according to a survey conducted by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Results spanning the last six years of this survey have been analyzed. Currently, it is being used to implement a multidisciplinary project which covers four courses in a Master's degree. Finally, a collaborative online tool and teacher workshop further supports this method.
Type of Publication:
Journal publications
Project based learning instructional design motivation PBL support
International Journal of Engineering Education
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