Kolmos, Anette Kuru, Selahattin Hansen, Hans Eskil, Taner Podesta, Luca Fink, Flemming de Graaff, Erik Uwe Wolff, Jan Soylu, Ahmet
TREE – Teaching and Research in Engineering in Europe
This report discuss Problem-Based and Project-Based Learning (PBL) as an approach to meeting
the demand for the educational requirements of the next generation engineering graduates. The
report is prepared as the final report of the Special Interest Group (SIG) B5 of the Erasmus
Thematic Network Project TREE (Teaching and Research in Engineering Education) on Problem-
Based and Project-Based Learning.
In engineering education there is a shift in emphasis from professional skills to process skills.
These skills include problem analysis and problem solving, project management and leadership,
analytical skills and critical thinking, dissemination and communication, interdisciplinary
competencies, intercultural communication, innovation and creativity, and social abilities.
PBL is an instructional method that challenges students to "learn to learn," working cooperatively in
groups to seek solutions to real world problems. These problems are used to engage students'
curiosity and initiate learning the subject matter. PBL prepares students to think critically and
analytically, and to find and use appropriate learning resources.
PBL is both a curriculum and a process. The curriculum consists of carefully selected and
designed problems that demand from the learner acquisition of critical knowledge, problem solving
proficiency, self-directed learning strategies, and team participation skills. The process replicates
the commonly used systemic approach to resolving problems or meeting challenges that are
encountered in life and career.
This report gives a survey of PBL and several best practice examples from Europe, and discusses
how an institution can change to PBL.
The conclusion of this report is that PBL can, regardless of discipline, enhance students'
achievement of both professional skills and process skills. Therefore European higher education
institutions should consider shifting to PBL. The shift to PBL cannot be accomplished as a sudden
change. It should be considered as a strategic change and the necessary measures should be
taken for successful completion of change.