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Special session — Not all problems are created equal: From problem-based learning theory to research on complex problem solving and implications for the engineering classroom

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5 Author(s)
Olga Pierrakos ; School of Engineering, James Madison University ; Heather Watson ; Ron Kander ; Javarro Russell
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Most of us acknowledge that not all problems are created equal and that different types of problems lead to different learning outcomes for students. For example, it is well-known that undergraduate engineering courses mainly focus on problems that are well-structured with known, correct solutions; yet, real-world practice is more suffused with complex and ill-structured problems. So, it is imperative that engineering students begin the real-world practice of problem solving within the undergraduate curriculum. Problem-based learning (PBL) is a powerful student-centered pedagogy that offers a strong framework upon which to build a curriculum that will allow all students to learn essential, real-world, and globally competitive problem solving skills. This special session is thus designed to not only provide participants with background on PBL theory and the nature of problems, but also to provide them with materials and resources on developing, classifying, and assessing a variety of PBL activities in their courses. It is hoped that this session will enable the facilitators and attendees to generate a collection of peer developed ideas and feedback on understanding the nature of problems and problem solving. The potential impacts of this session could have transformative implications for engineering education and student learning.

Published in:

2010 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)

Date of Conference:

27-30 Oct. 2010