A comparative curriculum analysis of two PBL engineering programs

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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.
Original languageDanish
Title of host publicationSEFI 47th Annual Conference Proceedings
EditorsBalázs Vince Nagy, Mike Murphy, Hannu-Matti Järvinen, Anikó Kálmán
Number of pages8
PublisherSEFI: European Association for Engineering Education
Publication date2019
ISBN (Electronic)978-2-87352-018-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventSEFI annual conference 2019: Varietas delectat: Complexity is the new normality - Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 16 Sept 201919 Sept 2019
Conference number: 47


ConferenceSEFI annual conference 2019
LocationBudapest University of Technology and Economics
Internet address

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