The article presents a three-day problem based learning (PBL) event taking place as an interdisciplinary, cross-institution, and cross-sector digital learning activity in architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC). Students were given an overall realistic task by a builder to solve in interdisciplinary teams consisting of members from the involved institutions, i.e., a university college, a university, and a vocational school. Representatives from the AEC industry acted as consultants and teachers from the involved institutions acted as supervisors. Besides drawing on and enhancing students’ existing disciplinary knowledge and skills, their skills in project management, collaboration, and communication were challenged during the event. Coming from a university with a PBL-model of semester-long project work, our main research interest focused on the university students’ learning experience during this very short PBL learning activity. When studying the event from a work-based learning (WBL) perspective we found that the students’ experiences and competences developed during the course of the event to a large extent could be interpreted as employability competences, thus placing the event as a “transitional” activity between education and a future work-place. Furthermore, we found that the gain from the event was mutual—the industry representatives learned about new digital solutions and programs used in the event. The empirical research was based on qualitative methods involving semi structured interviews (students as well as industry representatives), supplemented with informal conversations, observations, and photo documentation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number959355
JournalFrontiers in Education
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sept 2022


  • Acquisition of competencies
  • Employability
  • Intensive short term PBL events
  • Learning in higher education
  • Problem based learning (PBL)


Dive into the research topics of 'Employability competences through short-term intensive PBL-events in higher education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this