Problem Based Learning and Education for Sustainable Development: An overview in Engineering Education

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An engineering education that integrates education for sustainable development (ESD) perspectives claims for a learning approach centred on students, interdisciplinary and problem oriented, and this cannot be achieve through an “add on” strategy. Example of such active learning approaches are problem based learning (PBL), project based learning (PjBL), case study, role play, group discussion, field work, etc. These learning approaches are capable of integrating education for sustainable development (ESD) in engineering education at different levels, and do not aim to substitute the core scientific and technological knowledge but instead align it with the social, economic and environmental dimensions of the professional practice. It is agreed among ESD experts that PBL is a suitable learning approach to integrate ESD in the engineering curricula. This paper provides an overview of the difficulties of identify engineering education institutions that combine PBL and sustainability, the challenges and dynamics involved. The main research question is: How difficult it is to identify PBL and ESD institutions in engineering education. In a first phase of the study, potential engineering education systems were identified through literature review. Secondly, their homepages (from education vision to programmes’ curriculum) were analysed to identify the presence of PBL and ESD. The study presents a methodological approach with aim to identify trends in engineering education. Around fifty institutions were analysed and only sixteen explicitly combine PBL and ESD in engineering education
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEDULEARN12 Proceedings
PublisherInternational Association of Technology, Education and Development (IATED)
Publication date2 Jul 2012
ISBN (Electronic)978-84-695-3491-5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2012
EventInternational Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 4 Jul 20124 Jul 2012
Conference number: 2


ConferenceInternational Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
SeriesEDULEARN Proceedings


  • Problem Based Learning, Education for Sustainable Development, Engineering Education

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