Positive Learning Outcomes Through Problem-Based Learning Willie Yip Department of Computing
Agenda • The challenges to IT education and their solutions • The adopted PBL strategy • Learning outcomes • Views of Students • Reflection on the project • Conclusion
The challenges to IT education Challenge 1 Rapid technological development in the IT- difficult to cover all relevant knowledge. New technology comes and goes – obsolete easily. Curricula are over-full - high workloads for both teacher(s) and students. Solutions *Adopt the PBL approach with good problem cases (reflect common and contemporary issues). * Enables students to develop self-learning attitude, research capability and have breadth and depth of professional knowledge.
The challenges to IT education Challenge 2 Learning state-of-art knowledge may not be sufficient. Students need analytical, creative thinking and life-learning skills; Skills for ill-defined problems. Students need to be equipped to be lifelong learners and able to adapt to technological change. Solutions *Well-structured problems - develop knowledge acquisition and train specific skills. *Ill-structured problems - develop critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving skills. *Practise collaborative learning. Provide timelyfeedback &good work is displayed.
The challenges to IT education Challenge 3 The competencies and knowledge are required to be identified in the profession. Strategies need to be devised to teach these competencies. Solutions *The basic generic skills are analytical, problem-solving, creative thinking, teamwork, technical, leadership, and communication skills. *A learning and teaching environment needs to be established. Assessments need to be designed for these skills and students be aware of contemporary issues in the profession.
The challenges to IT education Challenge 4 There is a need for lifelong learning and continuing professional development as the IT profession demands. Solutions *Students should be taught to become active learners - learn how to acquire information. *They develop collaborative learning experience, acquire the habit of raising questions for discussion. *Encouraged students to develop research skills and self-learning ability, and to learn beyond the classroom.
The challenges to IT education Challenge 5 Information technology is the cause of these challenges, as it is the major factor in driving the pace of technological development and the knowledge explosion. Solutions Students need to use the potential of the Internet for information resources. They have the ability to employ efficient strategies to find relevant information and be able to understand and use the collected information. Students use IT for system project development.
The challenges to IT education Challenge 6 Relating theory to practice has always been problematic, and integrating the theory and professional practice components is essential. Students need to know how to apply theory to practice in problem solving. Solutions Real-life problem cases and application projects are offered, such that students are motivated to apply theory to practical situations. They learn the problem-solving process through hands-on experience.
The adopted PBL strategy • PBL strategy was applied to the Higher Diploma in Information Systems programme • Students work in teams of 5-6 • 4 subjects are integrated for Information System Development • The various stages of PBL are to be supported by technology tools • Students gained some PBL experience in year-1 • Use real-life application problems offered by the SAO to integrate three subjects in year-2 • Moving from PBL to Action Project Learning
Problem-based learning processes (Hybrid approach) supported by IT • Teaching & learning resources are available on the Web • Problem case - common systems development problems • Students work in teams and use the Web in: • Problem analysis • Identification of areas of learning • Project planning • Each student undertakes independent and small-group learning • The progress of the students can be monitored and feedback is given via the Web • Each group presents its finding through report and presentation • The good work is displayed on the Web for Reflection
Subject name Schedule Development of skills Commercial Programming Year 1 (semester 2) Problem-solving, analytical Information Systems Analysis Year 2 (semester 1) Analytical, problem analysis, information search, self-learning, collaborative learning Information Systems Design & Implementation Year 2 (semester 2) Creative thinking, collaborative learning, self-learning,technical skills Commercial Programming Project Year 2 (semester 2) Relate theory to practice, project management skills, problem solving through hands-on experience Generic skills development
Construct COMP (N=49) Faculty (N=301) p-value Effect size (Col 2 –Col 3)/S Career Relevance 3.97 (0.61) 3.46 (0.86) 0.000 0.62 Learning Outcomes 3.92 (0.49) 3.55 (0.73) 0.000 0.53 Critical Thinking 3.78 (0.37) 3.45 (0.72) 0.000 0.48 Creative Thinking 3.73 (0.45) 3.39 (0.64) 0.000 0.55 Lifelong Learning 3.77 (0.40) 3.73 (0.57) 0.532 0.01 Communication Skills 3.97 (0.54) 3.55 (0.78) 0.000 0.57 Interpersonal Skills 3.89 (0.36) 3.70 (0.60) 0.004 0.34 Problem-Solving 3.82 (0.31) 3.67 (0.61) 0.016 0.24 Adaptability 3.86 (0.46) 3.81 (0.60) 0.568 0.07 Workload (reversed) 2.53 (0.79) 2.92 (0.87) 0.004 0.45 Comparison with the Faculty of Engineering The statistical results indicate a positive learning outcome when compared with past engineering graduates. The results show better outcomes, including learning outcomes, critical thinking, creative thinking, communication skills, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving.
Construct COMP (N=49) Faculty (N=1532) p-value Effect size (Col 2 –Col 3)/S Career Relevance 3.97 (0.61) 3.60 (0.85) 0.000 0.54 Learning Outcomes 3.92 (0.49) 3.60 (0.69) 0.000 0.47 Critical Thinking 3.78 (0.37) 3.49 (0.66) 0.000 0.44 Creative Thinking 3.73 (0.45) 3.35 (0.65) 0.000 0.61 Lifelong Learning 3.77 (0.40) 3.68 (0.59) 0.116 0.16 Communication Skills 3.97 (0.54) 3.66 (0.76) 0.000 0.41 Interpersonal Skills 3.89 (0.36) 3.71 (0.63) 0.001 0.30 Problem-Solving 3.82 (0.31) 3.65 (0.58) 0.001 0.30 Adaptability 3.86 (0.46) 3.79 (0.63) 0.298 0.11 Workload (reversed) 2.53 (0.79) 2.92 (0.95) 0.002 0.39 Comparison with the PolyU
Views of students • Heavy workload – No experience & skills • Value PBL experience & teamwork • The Web has information resources • Easy online work submission • Private area for group discussion • Posting board to motivate their learning • Leadership skills are important • Learn project planning & monitoring
Successes Found • Motivating students to perform better • Relating theory to practice • Enhanced critical thinking • Enhanced analytical skills • Enhanced communication skills • Foster teamwork • Better information search skills • Better learning outcomes • Enhanced tutorial participation
Things did not work well • Even though teaching materials are on the Web, students do not prepare for lectures • Single subject in the entire programme to introduce PBL • Too many problem cases • Workload cannot be reduced to achieve the desired quality • Current SFQ does not measure teaching quality for PolyU learning and teaching initiatives • Limited resources
Reflection • PBL should be introduced in semester 1 year-1 • Subject appropriateness for PBL (development of generic skills) • Subjects integration through problem cases • Resources for Web site maintenance and supporting tools • Need a team of teachers willing to work together
Conclusion • Students benefit from PBL with IT support through the integration of several subjects • Both problem cases and real-life projects provided better learning outcome • Students have been motivated to learn better by posting their good work (reports & presentations) • Students’ learning activities have been found to be higher • Hard work for both teachers and students