Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Post secondary project-based learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Rachel A. Ralph


Project-based learning (PjBL - to distinguish from problem-based learning - PBL) has become a recurrent practice in K-12 classroom environments. As PjBL has become prominent in K-12 classrooms, it has also surfaced in post-secondary institutions. The purpose of this paper is to examine the research that has studied a variety of science, technology, engineering and mathematic subjects using PjBL in post-secondary classrooms. Eleven articles (including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods) were included. The format includes: an introduction and background (which defines PjBL and STEM), research methods, quality appraisal used, results, and a discussion, future research and a conclusion. Two tables and two figures are included. In this paper, theoretical backgrounds and key terms were identified, followed by a literature review discussing four themes: content knowledge, interdisciplinary skills, collaboration and skill development for future education and careers. Results suggested that there is a positive connection between content knowledge learning and PjBL in collaborative settings. Additionally, some negative perceptions arose regarding teamwork situations. Interdisciplinary skills were achieved, but quite limited in post-secondary classrooms. PjBL and STEM were perceived to be important for future education and careers. Future research needs to be completed and institutional curriculum changes informed by the results of this research need to occur to further explore interdisciplinary courses and the use of PjBL

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