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Problem-Based Learning: Use in Engineering Disciplines

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an active, hands-on method for learning used by many engineering educators around the world to address perceived shortcomings in the learning outcomes of engineering graduates, and in engineering education, the term is often used interchangeably with project-based learning (PBL). Engineering PBL frequently involves the cyclical process developed for medical education by Howard S. Barrows in the 1980s, which has three main components: (1) a group of students encounters a problem, (2) members engage in self-directed study together and individually, (3) the group reassembles, applying newly gathered knowledge and summarizing its progress and findings. Subsequent PBL assignments build on the newly acquired knowledge and skills. Overarching objectives of PBL are to develop knowledge, skills to extend knowledge, and skills for solving problems. ...

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