Quantifying the Efficiency of Project-Based Learning ...

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7th International CONCEIVE DESIGN IMPLEMENT OPERATE Conference (CDIO2011)

Quantifying the Efficiency of Project-Based Learning Experiences
Author:Ron Hugo <hugo@ucalgary.ca> (University of Calgary)
Bob Brennan <rbrennan@ucalgary.ca> (University of Calgary)
Peihua Gu <pgu@ucalgary.ca> (Shantou University)
X Lu (Shantou University)
Date: 2011-06-20     Track: Main     Session: 1

The use of active learning, and specifically Project-Based Learning (PjBL) for this paper, has been shown to be an effective means of increasing the development of attributes that would otherwise be difficult to enhance in a traditional engineering curriculum. Teamwork, interpersonal communication, engineering economics, and dispute resolution are all examples of attributes that can be developed and strengthened through the PjBL experience. The utility of these dual-impact learning experiences is that they help strengthen not only the hard-to-reach attributes but also the technical understanding of the subject area that the PjBL experience relates to. Although there are many positive aspects surrounding the PjBL experience, the fact remains that they can be expensive to implement given the requirements for non-traditional hardware and infrastructure and also the additional expenses for the materials and supplies required for each project. Engineering educators and administrators need to have a method of assessing how to balance the value of enhanced learning outcomes with the additional financial investment. It is with this in mind that this paper takes steps towards quantifying the efficiency of the PjBL experience.