A comparative curriculum analysis of two PBL engineering programs

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapport/konference proceedingKonferenceartikel i proceedingForskningpeer review


This paper presents preliminary findings from an ongoing cross-faculty research project on the future of problem-based learning at Aalborg University. The research project consists of a baseline study and a number of sub-projects, this particular case being part of the former, where a curriculum analysis is conducted to infer how PBL competencies are framed in formal curricula on 13 different educations. This paper includes two of these curricula in more detail.

PBL is hailed as an innovative approach to learning with a focus on authentic problems and student-directed learning. The formal structure has, from its conception been regarded as highly adaptable, enabling institutional and societal ambitions to be aligned. Students working with a PBL curriculum are expected to develop a variety of competencies, both specific disciplinary and vocational, but also competencies directly related to the actual pedagogical approach. These competencies are internally dubbed 'PBL competencies', and as part of a new institutional strategy, these are to be included in formal curricula explicitly stating the progressive development throughout the educational cycle. This paper provides a comparative analysis of current institutional framing of PBL competencies in two formal curricula from two bachelor programmes of engineering education at AAU (Nanotechnology, and Biomedical Engineering and Informatics). Conducting a theoretically directed content analysis, each curriculum is analyzed for categories and themes related to the aforementioned PBL competencies. The research results will give insights into how the progression of these PBL competencies are described in the formal curricula. Preliminary results point to a diverse inclusion of PBL competencies within the selected formal curricula with little evidence of explicit formulations regarding the progression of these competencies, especially on later semesters.
TitelSEFI 47th Annual Conference Proceedings
RedaktørerBalázs Vince Nagy, Mike Murphy, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Anikó Kálmán
Antal sider8
ForlagSEFI: European Association for Engineering Education
ISBN (Elektronisk)978-2-87352-018-2
StatusUdgivet - 2019
BegivenhedSEFI annual conference 2019: Varietas delectat: Complexity is the new normality - Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Ungarn
Varighed: 16 sep. 201919 sep. 2019
Konferencens nummer: 47


KonferenceSEFI annual conference 2019
LokationBudapest University of Technology and Economics


  • Curriculum Analyse
  • Content Analysis
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Engineering Education