Project based learning (PBL) has been widely recognised as a collaborative, progressive, student-centred, interactive, active and deep learning approach. The benefits of PBL have been well documented in the existing literature and the approach has been practised, to some extent, in most engineering schools in Australia. However, the majority of undergraduate engineering programs, except a few PBL-centred engineering schools, still use traditiol lecture-tutorial approach. Both of these learning approaches have advantages and disadvantages. Some engineering students dislike the PBL approach as they need to adopt a self-directed learning strategy to complete often unclear and open-ended tasks. It may also not suit their individual learning styles and needs, which may be different than the team learning needs. Some teaching staff also criticise the PBL approach as it takes too much of their time and effort, especially for large classes. Academic institutions often hesitate to embrace the PBL approach as it demands more resources. This study investigates the use of a blended approach (mix of PBL and traditiol) with the aim of eliciting the advantages of both approaches to enhance student learning outcomes. It formulates the strategies to combine both approaches, implements the strategies to an undergraduate engineering design course and relates the effectiveness of such strategies through a student survey. The results show that the blended approach, designed appropriately, helps to minimise the problems of both approaches.
AAEE 2011 (2011)
Fremantle, Western Australia
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