A longitudinal evaluation of a project-based learning initiative in an engineering undergraduate programme


Project-based learning (PBL) is a well-known student-centred methodology for engineering design education. The methodology claims to offer a number of educational benefits. This paper evaluates the student perceptions of the initial and second offering of a first-year design unit at Griffith University in Australia. It builds on an earlier evaluation conducted after the initial offering of the unit. It considers the implementation of the recommended changes. Evaluations of the two offerings reveal that students (in both the initial and second offering) generally enjoyed the experience, but that the second offering was found to be a significantly more enjoyable learning experience. Students in the second offering also reported a significantly better understanding of what they needed to do for the design projects and where to find the requisite information. The oral presentation aspect of the initial and second offerings received the lowest satisfaction rating. The inclusion (and delivery) of the computer-aided drawing component of the unit is seen as a positive aspect by some students, but many others comment on it negatively. The best aspects of the PBL unit and those aspects needing further improvement were similar to the findings of other investigations documented in the literature.


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