Problem-Based Learning in the Engineering Curriculum – Is it suitable for first year undergraduates?

Michael Hammond


Problem-based learning is an educational approach that originated within medicine, and has been used in other disciplines such as engineering and economics. This article explores the question of whether it could be applied within the undergraduate engineering curriculum at my institution. This is achieved by considering my own experience as a teacher within engineering and through discussion with peers and colleagues, as well as considering the advantages and disadvantages of both the current curriculum and Problem-Based Learning.  The article concludes that there is potential for such an approach to be included within an engineering curriculum, but there are certain obstacles, particularly in the early stages of an engineering degree program, and therefore it may be more appropriate in the latter years of such a course of study.

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