Authors: J.M. Podges; P.A.M. Kommers
Addresses: Department of Electrical Engineering, Walter Sisulu University of Technology, College Street, East London, P.O. Box 811, Gonubie 5256, South Africa ' Department of Media, Communication and Organisation, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
Abstract: This study describes how problem-based learning (PBL) can best be used as a supplementary to the lecturing mode. The lecturing mode followed/supplemented by PBL is compared with PBL followed/supplemented by the lecturing mode. The PBL problem was project-based and integrates various concepts to match a real-life situation. The attitudinal effects, motivational effects and amount of reflection were much higher for those students who were in the lecturing mode followed by PBL. Students who did PBL first found it more strenuous and they became negative once supplemented in the lecturing mode. The PBL component improves the student's teamwork and communication skills whilst they also learn to apply their knowledge to solve complex engineering problems. There is a real need to address gaps between employer expectations and higher education outcomes in South Africa and it might be worth it for universities to move at least in part to PBL.
Keywords: applied knowledge; student attitudes; critical thinking; electrical engineering education; practical electronics; employer expectations; higher education; motivation; PBL; problem-solving; reflection; variations; problem-based learning; lecturing sequences; teamwork; communication skills; South Africa.
International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2016 Vol.26 No.2, pp.217 - 239
Received: 01 Oct 2015
Accepted: 20 Jan 2016
Published online: 21 Apr 2016 *