How do student attributes influence the way students experience problem-based learning in virtual space?

Gibbings, Peter and Lidstone, John and Bruce, Christine (2010) How do student attributes influence the way students experience problem-based learning in virtual space? Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, 16 (1). pp. 69-80. ISSN 1324-5821


The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a study into how student attributes influence their experience problem-based learning (PBL) in virtual space. Some Engineering Faculties in Australia are turning to the PBL paradigm to engender necessary skills and competence in their graduates. At the same time, due to economic and other factors, some Faculties are moving towards distance education. Logically, questions are being asked about the effectiveness of PBL for technical fields such as Engineering and Surveying when delivered in virtual space. This paper outlines an investigation of how student attributes such as final course grade, age, academic study major, and interaction with their team facilitator affect the student learning experience in PBL courses offered in virtual space. A phenomenographical study was carried out on a suitable PBL course. A frequency distribution was then superimposed on the outcome space to assist analysis and to aid interpretation of results. This frequency distribution was then used to analyse the effect of different student attributes on the learning experience. It was discovered that the quality, quantity, and style of facilitator interaction had the greatest impact on the student learning experience. This highlighted the need to establish consistent student interaction plans and to set, and ensure compliance with, minimum standards with respect to facilitation and student interactions. The findings also have ramifications for future staff professional development activities before starting as facilitators in these courses.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to paper due to publisher copyright restrictions.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Surveying and Land Information
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2010 01:39
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2014 04:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: phenomenography; PBL; engineering education; student attributes
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130309 Learning Sciences
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education

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