The development of generic skills and competences has become a central component of contemporary engineering education due to increased societal and occupational complexity. Problem- and project-based learning (PBL) has been highlighted as one of the pedagogical approaches fostering generic skills and competences that are transferable between various contexts. However, the arguments linking PBL and generic competences have mostly been theoretically grounded or based on singular cases of teaching experience. The purpose of this literature review is therefore to present a comprehensive overview of the different types of generic competences documented in a PBL environment. The review includes 28 peer-reviewed articles that have documented engineering students’ perceptions of generic skill and competence development. The results reveal either an emphasis in the studies on teamwork, typically combined with a couple of other types of generic competences, or, in a few cases, a narrow focus on problem-solving. The synthesis of generic competences perceived by engineering students in PBL environments furthermore unfolds a landscape of generic competences, which provides a frame of reference to discuss strategies to foster the broad set of generic competences needed for future engineers to deal with the complex societal challenges of our time.
- generic competences
- problem-based learning