Exploring transition in higher education: Engagement and challenges in moving from teacher-centered to student-centered learning

Judith Awacorach, Iben Jensen, Inger Lassen, David Ross Olanya, Hanan Lassen Zakaria, Geoffrey Olok Tabo

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The need for a new pedagogical approach in higher education is evident with the current trend of employers’ expectations of quality and employability from higher education institutions in Uganda and most African countries involved in international capacity building programmes. In collaboration with Danish universities, Gulu University has been introducing, testing and adapting IT-supported Problem Based Learning (PBL) as an innovative blended learning approach in a Gulu university context. PBL is known for its ability to engage academic institutions with the community to solve real world issues in society.
The overall purpose of this study is to prefigure the feasibility of applying a form of PBL for building the research capacity of MA-students in the context of Gulu University. Following a description of the basic tenets of PBL, we explain how PBL was used in experimental community outreach workshops for MA-students in 2016, 2018 and 2019. Identifying traces of traditional practices, we discuss to what extent the new learning approach might change the student-teacher power relationship.
Our theoretical point of departure is problem based learning theory and practice theory. Methodologically and analytically, our study draws on a practice theory model developed by Kemmis and Mutton (2012). While our findings indicate subtle traces of a traditional student-teacher relationship, the analyses show that the PBL learning mode was well received by staff, students and stakeholders in the local community. We argue that PBL is a promising approach for strengthening research capacity in view of preparing students for post-graduate employability and community transformation.
TidsskriftJournal of Problem Based Learning in Higher Education
Sider (fra-til)1
Antal sider19
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 21 jan. 2021