Engineering Teachers’ Professional Learning and Role Identity Change in An Intercultural (Study-abroad) PBL Program

Niels Erik Ruan Lyngdorf*, Youjin Ruan, Juebei Chen, Xiangyun Du, Anette Kolmos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study follows three Chinese university instructors’ learning and role identity change in a six-month Problem-Based Learning (PBL) professional learning programme in Denmark. Data sources include individual progressive portfolios and two rounds of interviews. Data analysis using the Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity indicates that all three participants experienced change in all four dimensions of the model: ontological and epistemological beliefs, purpose and goals, self-perceptions and definitions, and perceived action possibilities, resulting in changed teacher role identities. Furthermore, the role of the intercultural context of the programme in triggering enablers and/or constraints for learning was also studied. It was found that beliefs about cultural community and ‘‘othering’’ in some cases acted as initial triggers for learning and motivation, while, in other instances, beliefs about cultural differences could be a constraint. The results provide evidence of the effectiveness of using a PBL methodology to organise professional learning activities and facilitate teacher role identity change and explore the roles of culture and interculturality in relation to the DSMRI model.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)959-973
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2022


  • Chinese engineering teachers
  • teacher role identity
  • PBL based pedagogical development
  • intercultural/study abroad
  • Denmark


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