Learning and Cognition - The interplay between the Subject and the Group: Understanding the processes of problem-based learning

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The purpose of this article is to discuss the relationship between learning, epistemology and intersubjectivity in the context of problem-based learning and project-oriented work at a university level. It aims to show how the collaboration of students in a group over a longer period of time can put emphasis on the knowledge - practice discussion, and thereby on some of the values required to progress in science as a field and to develop knowledge. This article focuses on how to describe the dialectical interplay between the individual’s learning and the groups’ learning process, in the development of a project in a field. This process of a dialectical interplay is a matter of cognition and development of the self, and the development of competencies and knowledge. Learning is a process based on the involvement of the self, engaging in the interaction with a problem and with others. The process of learning during problem-based activities are described as a development of knowledge about something while simultaneously developing reflexivity and skill in order to understand oneself as a learning entity. To understand this learning and development of knowledge we need a perspective on how to understand the human being and the consciousness – that learning always is about the individual and therefor requires an understanding of the ontology of the human being. This entails that we must discuss how we can understand the process of interaction of knowledge, and how to handle the process of understanding, and the contradictions that appear in learning contexts. The grounds for the development of an intersubjectivity, which is required in the engagement of interaction, seems therefore as an important part of learning. The article will look upon those questions and themes from a broad phenomenological and dialectical perspective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Learning in Higher Education
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)51-58
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Eventinternational conference on learning and administration in higher education - Holiday Inn Vanderbilt, Nashville, United States
Duration: 24 May 201726 May 2017


Conferenceinternational conference on learning and administration in higher education
LocationHoliday Inn Vanderbilt
CountryUnited States
Internet address


  • Group learning
  • Subject
  • Intersubjectivity
  • Cognition
  • Epistemology
  • Problem-based learning
  • Project oriented work
  • Development of Knowledge and the Self
  • Context
  • Scientific values

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