• Using Problem-Based Learning to help Portuguese students make the Bologna transition

      Reis, Manuel Cabral; Peres, Emanuel; Morais, Raul; Escola, Joaquim (Aalborg University Press, 2013-08-26)
       The Bologna Declaration has opened a stage of big and deep changes in the internal university organization, external cooperation, teaching models and methods, among other., all over the European countries. Here we will present and discuss a pilot experience conducted at the Engineering Department of the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal, during the second year of that transition period. In brief, we will present a set of non-mandatory courses proposed to the students of each individual syllabus, with one hundred hours duration, each, approximately seven hours/week, fifteen weeks long, with the permanent help of a specialized trainer to aid the students in their "homework". The formal bureaucratic transition is also presented. Design and implementation issues, supported on problem-based learning and experimental lab learning classes, final assessment results, as well as the opinion of the students, are presented and analyzed. We believe that this methodology helped to make the transition smoother to the students, but also to the teaching staff.
    • Problem Based Learning in Continuing Education – Challenges and Opportunities

      Stegeager, Nikolaj; Thomassen, Anja Overgaard; Laursen, Erik (Aalborg University Press, 2013-08-26)
       This article presents the PBL model applied at Aalborg University in order to discuss research findings with regard to the educational effectiveness of the PBL model in securing an efficient transfer of learning from university driven continuing education to the context of the workplace. In recent years Aalborg University has seen a progressive PBL development with regard to our many new continuing educational programs. The empirical data applied in the article is collected from two qualitative Ph.D. studies. Drawing on research findings from these studies, we discuss why the PBL model, in spite of the intentions of closing the gap between education and working life, seems to have some important challenges. The discussion concludes by suggesting some pedagogical guidelines for the design of future PBL organized academic activities within continuing education.
    • Reflections on remaining obstacles in a primary-care oriented pure PBL curriculum after twelve years of implementation

      D’Ottavio, Alberto Enrique; Bassan, Norberto David (Aalborg University Press, 2014-12-18)
      A pioneer primary-care oriented pure PBL curriculum, based on constructivism and adult learning theories combined with Morin’s complex thinking, was implemented in our medical school since 2002. Regardless of warnings opportunely made because the basic requirements for its successful implementation could not be fully fulfilled in practice, the experience was carried out and, while partially amended, still endures. This allows revealing several obstacles in many operational aspects, here recalled and/or characterized. Besides becoming helpful not only for counseling again to our own medical school about them but for warning and informing to those institutions with similar problems, the present analysis leads to a preventive final reflection: when designing and implementing a medical curriculum in general and particularly a pure PBL one, a thorough analysis of the contextual and operational factors, a flexible procedure and continuous objective evaluations for further adjustments become keystones for guaranteeing its fruitful implementation.
    • Question-Asking Patterns during Problem-Based Learning Tutorials: Formal Functional Roles

      Valtanen, Juri (Aalborg University Press, 2014-12-18)
      Question-asking is essential for being, knowing and learning. However, classroom research has confirmed that students do not ask questions spontaneously and teachers ask the most questions, mainly low-level ones. The purpose of this qualitative case-study is to investigate question-asking during problem-based learning (PBL) tutorials, a subject rarely studied. By filling this gap, this study, based on video-recorded data from 20 small-group tutorial sessions, provides fresh perspective and contributes to the field by focusing on formal functional roles. The analysis reveals that despite the high incidence of questions, they are imbalanced regarding their type and who asks them. The study confirms that students do acquire the skill of question-asking during PBL tutorials. However, to maximize the benefits of question-asking for epistemological and ontological development, more innovative learning activities must be designed and realised in tutorials.
    • Facilitating facilitators to facilitate, in problem or enquiry based learning sessions

      Coelho, Catherine (Aalborg University Press, 2014-12-18)
      Problem based learning (PBL) has been used in dental education over the past 20 years and uses a patient case scenario to stimulate learning in a small group setting, where a trained facilitator does not teach but guides the group to bring about deep contextualized learning, to be empathetic to each other and to encourage fair and equitable contribution from individual learners. Learners are encouraged to appreciate that they individually perform better when they actively participate in the group and share resources, than when they learn in isolation (Bandura, 1977, Freire, 1972, Lave and Wenger, 1991, Kolb, 1984 and Vygotsky, 1978).
    • From cases to projects in problem-based medical education

      Stentoft, Diana; Duroux, Meg; Fink, Trine; Emmersen, Jeppe (Aalborg University Press, 2014-12-18)
      Problem-based learning (PBL) based on patient cases has become a well-established worldwide educational approach in medical education. Recent studies indicate that case-based PBL when used throughout an entire curriculum may develop into a counter-productive routine for students as well as teachers. Consequently, there is a need to develop PBL approaches further allowing students to work with more ill-defined problems and alternative learning structures. In this paper, we argue that this can be realised by introducing project-PBL into the medical curriculum, as in the medical education at Aalborg University, Denmark. We outline organisations of case- and project- PBL in the medical curriculum and present an explorative study of 116 first and second year students’ experiences working in the two settings of PBL. Results reveal that students generally rate their PBL experiences positively however, project-PBL is rated more positively than case-PBL on all parameters studied. These results invite further consideration of the differences in working with cases and projects. Two central differences are discussed; the nature of the problem as the trigger of learning and students' possibilities for directing their own learning processes. The study demonstrates that introducing project-PBL may contribute significantly in problem-based medical education. However, the need for extensive research into advantages and limitations of the combined use of case- and project-PBL is also emphasised.
    • Student Opinions about the Seven-step Procedure in Problem-based Hospitality Management Education

      Zwaal, Wichard; Otting, Hans (Aalborg University Press, 2014-12-18)
      This study investigates how hospitality management students appreciate the role and application of the seven-step procedure in problem-based learning. A survey was developed containing sections about personal characteristics, recall of the seven steps, overall report marks, and 30 statements about the seven-step procedure. The survey was administered to a sample of 101 first-, second- and third-year hotel school students. Results show a low recall but positive opinion about the seven-step procedure. Particularly step 4 (conceptualizing), step 6 (self-study between tutorials) and step 7 (synthesizing new information) need attention. Some suggestions are put forward for strengthening the process of problem-based hospitality education.
    • Problems Implementing Problem-Based Learning by a Private Malaysian University

      Tik, Chan Chang (Aalborg University Press, 2014-12-18)
      In this case study the focus is on lecturers’ readiness in the design of PBL problems and to facilitate students’ learning. This paper also looks into students’ readiness in terms of acquiring metacognitive skills and collaborating in group to solve PBL problems. Problems encountered by both lecturers and students are discussed in the context of the chosen private Malaysian university.
    • Play as mediator for knowledge-creation in Problem Based Learning

      Thorsted, Ann Charlotte; Bing, Rie Grønbeck; Kristensen, Michael (Aalborg University Press, 2015-09-11)
      This article recounts reflections by a small group of students and their supervisor on play utilized at their meetings as part of a Problem Based Learning (PBL) process. The students experienced how a less traditional professor-student relationship arose, which transformed their interaction and relationship into a more holistic, trustful, sensitive, open, creative and collaborative form that gave rise to the following questions: what can a more playful approach bring into a PBL learning-space? What influence can play have on learning, and on student-to-student and student-supervisor relationships and collaboration? Why did the students find that this experience enhanced a learning that differed from their earlier experiences? What was it play had mediated? The article, which is also a theoretical discussion of future pedagogics in Higher Education, introduces a new model including three different knowledge forms. These take their departure from a PBL approach - regarded as a ‘problem-solving’ approach to learning, and PpBL (Play and Problem Based Learning), a ‘playful’, experimenting and intuitive approach.
    • Problem Solution Processes of Musicians and Engineers: What do Their Approaches Look Like

      Nissilä, Säde-Pirkko; Virkkula, Esa (Aalborg University Press, 2015-09-11)
      PBL is learning through becoming conscious of practical and abstract problems and finding ways how to solve them. It can be a pattern which doesn’t follow traditional divisions of disciplines. In this article the material was collected from two, in the first sight, very different groups. One was music students (N = 62) who had to learn to solve various practical and theoretical problems in preparing a program for a series of concerts as collective and individual action. The method used was the 7-step method which divides learning into seven phases proceeding from creating the social frame of reference and mental models (steps 1–4) through actual work (steps 5–6) to the evaluation of the outcomes (step 7). Another group consisted of international, multicultural business leaders in engineering (N = 6). In using earlier the 7-step method, the approaches resembled those of the music students: deepening their professional competences. To engage their ability to use imagination and connect reality with brainstorming and mental flexibility, the creative PBL method 635 was used. Three practical problems were solved so that the solutions included new viewpoints which would be applied to meet the real needs in the near future. The results show that not only were the learning targets of both groups reached but, with reflection included, the processes widened the professional competences of the participants.
    • Problem Based Learning as a Shared Musical Journey – Group Dynamics, Communication and Creativity

      Lindvang, Charlotte; Beck, Bolette (Aalborg University Press, 2015-09-11)
       The focus of this paper is how we can facilitate problem based learning (PBL) more creatively. We take a closer look upon the connection between creative processes and social communication in the PBL group including how difficulties in the social interplay may hinder creativity. The paper draws on group dynamic theory, and points out the importance of building a reflexive milieu in the group. Musical concepts are used to illustrate the communicative and creative aspects of PBL and the paper uses the analogy between improvising together and do a project work together. We also discuss the role of the supervisor in a PBL group process. Further we argue that creativity is rooted deep in our consciousness and connected to our ability to work with a flexible mind. In order to enhance the cohesion as well as the creativity of the group a model of music listening as a concrete intervention tool in PBL processes is proposed.
    • PBL and Creative Processes

      Armitage, Andrew; Pihl, Ole; Ryberg, Thomas (Aalborg University Press, 2015-09-11)
      Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a pedagogical approach that encourages those who take part in its processes to act both as supportive change agents working in collaboration with colleagues, and also as individuals to use their creativity in finding solutions to practical problems. The process of questioning the issues and finding novel solutions using the creative spirit are also challenging for those who teach and deliver PBL based curriculum, and poses some fundamental questions.
    • Hidden realities inside PBL design processes: Is consensus design an impossible clash of interest between the individual and the collective, and is architecture its first victim?

      Pihl, Ole (Aalborg University Press, 2015-09-11)
      How do architecture students experience the contradictions between the individual and the group at the Department of Architecture and Design of Aalborg University? The Problem-Based Learning model has been extensively applied to the department’s degree programs in coherence with the Integrated Design Process, but is a group-based architecture and design education better than that which is individually based? How does PBL affect space, form, and creative processes?  Hans Kiib, professor and one of the founders of the Department of Architecture and Design in Aalborg, describes his intentions for the education as being intuition, reflection, artistic progression and critical interpretation (Kiib 2004). “As the reflection and critical interpretation are well integrated within the education, mostly parts of the exam evaluation, it seems like the artistic progression and intuition are somewhat drowning within the group work, as it is closer related to the actual PBL process”. Is the Integrated Design Process (Knudstrup 2004) and is Colb (1975) still current and valid? Can we still use these methodologies when we must create “learning for an unknown future,” as Ronald Barnett (2004) claims that we are passing from a complex world into one based on super complexity? Could Gaston Bachelard (1958), who writes in his book The Poetic of Space "that poets and artists are born phenomenologists," help architecture and design students in their journey to find his/her own professional expression?  This paper investigates the creative processes of the collective and the individual and clarifies some of the hidden realities behind the PBL-based creative processes, both through an inquiry with the students and a more methodological and theoretical approach. The paper also explores how to integrate artistic progression and intuition within group work by investigating a group of concrete project cases from the Department of Architecture and Design based upon the following points:   1)      How can a PBL group-based learning environment based on a dialogical consensus ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal? 2)      Does consensus architecture secure a necessary analysis and interpretation of the context, or does it create a grey consensus architecture based on compromises? 3)      Does the PBL-method evoke a certain expression in space, form and materiality, but perhaps exclude other (possibly better) solutions?4)      Every group’s work depends on the interplay between the personalities of the individuals and the group. How does this interplay affect the creative process?  This paper seeks answers to the initial question “Is consensus design an impossible clash of interest between the individual and the collective, and is architecture its first victim?” and suggests new possible methodological tools for the architectural design process that secure the level of quality in design education.
    • Thinking in Possibilities: Unleashing Cognitive Creativity Through Assessment in a Problem-Based Learning Environment

      Servant, Virginie F.C.; Noordzij, Gera; Spierenburg, Emely J.; Frens, Maarten A. (Aalborg University Press, 2015-09-11)
      This paper addresses the way in which students’ cognitive creativity and the construction of meaning could be fostered by means of assessment in a Problem-based learning programme. We propose that a dual assessment structure within such a programme through examinations and coursework assignments could ensure the acquisition of a foundational knowledge base while allowing the development of the cognitive creative process. Using a Dutch University as a case study, including its assessment philosophy and practice, we describe and tentatively support by means of some preliminary results how assessment can foster construction of meaning. The paper closes on suggestions for practice in fostering cognitive creativity through assessment in Problem-based learning programmes.
    • Outcomes-Based Authentic Learning, Portfolio Assessment, and a Systems Approach to ‘Complex Problem-Solving’: Related Pillars for Enhancing the Innovative Role of PBL in Future Higher Education

      Richards, Cameron (Aalborg University Press, 2015-09-11)
      The challenge of better reconciling individual and collective aspects of innovative problem-solving can be productively addressed to enhance the role of PBL as a key focus of the creative process in future higher education. This should involve ‘active learning’ approaches supported by related processes of teaching, assessment and curriculum. As Biggs & Tan (2011) have suggested, an integrated or systemic approach is needed for  the most effective practice of outcomes-based education also especially relevant for  addressing relatively simple as well as more complex problems. Such a model will be discussed in relation to the practical example of a Masters subject conceived with interdisciplinary implications, applications, and transferability: ‘sustainable policy studies in science, technology and innovation’. Different modes of PBL might be encouraged in terms of the authentic kinds of ‘complex problem-solving’ issues and challenges which increasingly confront an interdependent and changing world. PBL can be further optimized when projects or cases also involve contexts and examples of research and inquiry. However, perhaps the most crucial pillar is a model of portfolio assessment for linking and encouraging as well as distinguishing individual contributions to collaborative projects and activities.
    • Entire issue

      Andersen, Jane Bak (Aalborg University Press, 2015-09-18)
    • Dealing with Insecurity in Problem Oriented Learning Approaches - The Importance of Problem Formulation

      Jensen, Annie Aarup; Lund, Birthe (Aalborg University Press, 2016-12-21)
      In order to learn and develop creative and innovative competences, students’ may act, experiment, reflect and solve problems (Dewey, 1916).) Creativity is an important component of problem solving (Ruco, 2014). Being sensitive to problems and problem finding characterize creativity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). It is consequently expected that problem oriented group work enhances students’ innovative competences (Illeris, 1974) per se. We question this assumption and present the results of an experiment where students were given a tool designed to support chaotic and unstable processes grounded in management theories. Data from three cohorts of students were analysed based on Engeströms Activity Theory (Engeström 1997, 2009; Engeström & Sannino, 2010) allowing us to uncover aspects of contradictions and potentials of expansive learning. Based on the findings the article discusses to what extent and how the introduction of the new concept and tool influences division of labor and collaboration aiming at developing students’ innovation skills.
    • Fundraising Strategies Developed by MBA students in Project-Based Learning Courses

      Arantes do Amaral, Joao Alberto; Petroni, Liége Mariel; Hess, Aurélio (Aalborg University Press, 2016-12-21)
      The ability to raise funds is a skill that most modern project managers need.  While a good deal of literature exists on the strategies NGOs employ to raise funds for their operations, less attention has been paid to the strategies used by students involved in Project-Based Learning courses that often partner with NGOs. Fundraising is an important skill that not only provides students with opportunities for creativity, but also helps them develop the communication skills they will need in the work they do after they graduate.In this paper, we discuss the fundraising strategies developed by MBA students in 204 social projects completed between 2002 and 2014. The projects were done in partnership with 39 community partners in Sao Paulo, Brazil (NGOs and Public Institutions). In our study, we followed quantitative and qualitative research methods, analyzing data and documents from the projects’ databases.  We identified six different fundraising strategies: organizing raffles, soliciting donations from private corporations, organizing paying events,  utilizing online social networks developing crowdfunding, and soliciting individual donations. 
    • The Use of System Thinking Concepts in Order to Assure Continuous Improvement of Project Based Learning Courses

      Arantes do Amaral, Joao Alberto; Gonçalves, Paulo (Aalborg University Press, 2016-12-21)
      This case study describes a continuous improvement experience, conducted from 2002 to 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, within 47 Project-Based Learning MBA courses, involving aproximatelly 1.400 students.  The experience report will focus on four themes: (1) understanding the main dynamics present in MBA courses (2) planning a systemic intervention in order to improve the following courses (3) doing the intervention and analysing the results (4) assuring the continuous improvement.
    • Performance of the Seven-step Procedure in Problem-based Hospitality Management Education

      Zwaal, Wichard; Otting, Hans (Aalborg University Press, 2016-12-21)
      The study focuses on the seven-step procedure (SSP) in problem-based learning (PBL). The way students apply the seven-step procedure will help us understand how students work in a problem-based learning curriculum. So far, little is known about how students rate the performance and importance of the different steps, the amount of time they spend on each step and the perceived quality of execution of the procedure. A survey was administered to a sample of 101 students enrolled in a problem-based hospitality management program. Results show that students consider step 6 (Collect additional information outside the group) to be most important. The highest performance-rating is for step two (Define the problem) and the lowest for step four (Draw a systemic inventory of explanations from step three). Step seven is classified as low in performance and high in importance implicating urgent attention. The average amount of time spent on the seven steps is 133 minutes with the largest part of the time spent on self-study outside the group (42 minutes). The assessment of the execution of a set of specific guidelines (the Blue Card) did not completely match with the overall performance ratings for the seven steps. The SSP could be improved by reducing the number of steps and incorporating more attention to group dynamics.