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Application of project based learning in an environmental engineering programme

Yang, H. ORCID: (2021) Application of project based learning in an environmental engineering programme. In: Guerra, A., Chen, J., Winther, M., Kolmos, A. and Nielsen, S. R. (eds.) Educate for the future: PBL, Sustainability and Digitalisation 2021. Aalborg University Press, Aalborg, Denmark, pp. 195-205. ISBN 9788772107431

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Project-based learning (PBL), a learning environment in which projects drive learning, has been increasingly applied in educational programmes across various disciplines. In terms of Environmental Engineering education, the primary pedagogy still remains “chalk and talk”, although many studies have confirmed its inefficacy. In the last decade, project-based learning (PBL) has been increasingly used as an effective learning method because it provides a pathway for engineering students to experience solving real-world problems as engineers. This paper researches students’ learning experience and skill development in the PBL in one module (Air Pollution) in an Environmental Engineering programme. Students were divided into small teams working on the greenhouse gases (GHGs) (CO2, CH4 and N2O) concentrations on one university campus. With a certain level of supervision, students selected sampling sites, collected air samples, conducted laboratory measurements, calculated GHGs concentrations and presented the group presentations. A questionnaire survey was conducted to understand students’ learning experience and feedback on the PBL. Semi-standardized interviews were employed to provide a micro-level view of the students' study situations, and lessons and challenges. A majority of the students applauded the PBL for its benefit of applying knowledge from lectures to field problems. In contrast to lecture-based learning, students confirmed that their interest and confidence in environmental engineering had substantially increased, together with the development of transferable skills, and understanding of teamwork and engineers’ responsibilities. With the development of transnational education, further research is needed to understand the learning experience of international students, particularly those whose studies are primarily teacher-centred in their home countries.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science > Department of Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:99206
Publisher:Aalborg University Press


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