Evaluation of the Aalborg University PBL model

Project Details


Since 2010, the original AAU PBL model has undergone several changes. In the “old” PBL model, the ‘project unit’ covered approximately 75% of the semester. The project unit consisted of a project covering 50% of the semester and 25% project unit courses. Finally, 25% were covered of the so-called general courses. In the “new” PBL model, project unit courses have been abolished wherefore the project unit as a concept does not exist any longer. There is now a project module, which constitutes 50% of the time. In addition, there are now three course modules of 5 ECTS, each with their own exam. Also other changes occurred.
The project has two phases. Phase 1 has focus on analysing the changes through interviews at management level. In 2012 the group published the report: ”Evaluering af ændringerne i PBL-modellen på TEKNAT AAU” (Evaluation of the PBL model at the Faculty of Engineering and Science) http://vbn.aau.dk/files/70042384/Evaluering_af_ny_PBL_model.pdf. The report points to a number of challenges in the new PBL model, including assessment. In Phase 2, based on these challenges we do a deeper study of how the students and academic staff (supervisors and lectures) has experienced these changes. This is done using a combination of interviews and questionnaires. We here investigate the following hypotheses:
1. The ”old” model: Academic staff and students found it difficult to assess the project unit courses during the project exam.
2. Necessity of the change: The academic staff experienced that the old model was unsustainable in terms of financial support and work condition.
3. Many simultaneous changes: The academic staff experienced that the many changes occurring within a short time span made it more difficult to implement these.
4. Re-selection process: The change in type of courses gave rise to a number of problems when determining the content and learning outcomes of the new courses. It appears that there is now more focus on theory.
5. Connection: In the new model there is a sepation between courses and project at a semester and courses do not always support the project.
6. New ways of teaching: The new model with 5 ECTS courses has made it possible to be more inventive in the teaching styles, but the academic staff experience lack of training in new teaching styles.
7. Flexibility in choosing courses: The students are positive towards the possibility to on individual basis chose (or exchange) courses.
8. Coordination: It is challenging to coordinate new types of teaching and exam with the new learning objectives, accross the modules and semesters.
9. Exam: The individual project exam gave complication for accessing the whole breadth of learning objective, particularly in the old PBL Model. It appears that there are now more marks than in the old PBL model and the students are positive towards this.
Effective start/end date01/01/201201/01/2015