“Project Based Learning” approach to teach gas and steam power systems


The objective of this paper is to present the experience and the results derived from the application of the method Project-based Learning (PBL) in an Engineering Thermodynamics course of the Chemical Engineering program at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). The critical analysis of the student’s academic achievement showed the traditional lecture-based teaching approach was failing. Although exercises solving classed added some practical approach, they were too structured and constrained as to promote critical and metacognitive thinking. Then, lectures and exercises solving classes were replaced by a PBL approach, so that students could learn recursively, based on the experience and previous knowledge and also by social interaction, via construction and reconstruction of mental models. Learning happened around two complex and little structured Design style projects, following the typical PBL learning process: 1) identification of learning needs; (2) search for information and knowledge-building; (3) analysis and reflection on what has been learned; (4) identification of new learning needs. Effectiveness of these modules was assessed using formative and summative tools. Academic outcomes improved due to a lower rate of students giving up and the requirement for constant learning and working. The satisfaction survey indicated that students perceived an improvement in the interaction with each other and with the teacher and in team working. They also feel more motivated.


Project Based Learning, Cooperative leaning, heat engines, power systems, chemical engineering


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ISSN: 1989-3477 |  Depósito Legal: V5051-2008


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