Evolution of project-based learning in small groups in environmental engineering courses

Jesús M. Requies, Ion Agirre, V. Laura Barrio, Moisès Graells

Abstract


This work presents the assessment of the development and evolution of an active methodology (Project-Based Learning –PBL-) implemented on the course “Unit Operations in Environmental Engineering”, within the bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering, with the purpose of decreasing the dropout rate in this course. After the initial design and implementation of this methodology during the first academic year (12/13), different modifications were adopted in the following ones (13-14, 14-15 & 15-16) in order to optimize the student’s and professor’s work load as well as correct some malfunctions observed in the initial design of the PBL. This active methodology seeks to make students the main architects of their own learning processes. Accordingly, they have to identify their learning needs, which is a highly motivating approach both for their curricular development and for attaining the required learning outcomes in this field of knowledge. The results obtained show that working in small teams (cooperative work) enhances each group member’s self–learning capabilities. Moreover, academic marks improve when compared to traditional learning methodologies. Nevertheless, the implementation of more active methodologies, such as project-based learning, in small groups has certain specific characteristics. In this case it has been implemented simultaneously in two different groups of 10 students each one. Such small groups are more heterogeneoussince the presence of two highly motivated students or not can vary or affect the whole group’s attitude and academic results.


Keywords


Active methodologies, cooperative learning, project-based learning, jigsaw puzzle, environmental engineering, teamwork

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/jotse.318


Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Technology and Science Education, 2011-2020

Online ISSN: 2013-6374; Print ISSN: 2014-5349; DL: B-2000-2012

Publisher: OmniaScience