The influence of students’ interest, ability and personal situation on students’ perception of a problem-based learning environment
Jaeger, M and Adair, D, The influence of students' interest, ability and personal situation on students' perception of a problem-based learning environment, European Journal of Engineering Education, 39, (1) pp. 84-96. ISSN 0304-3797 (2014) [Refereed Article]
The twofold purpose of this study is to identify engineering students’ perceptions of a problem-based learning environment and to analyse the influence of their personal situation, general interest in engineering and ability to succeed on their perception, after they were exposed to PBL for the first time. Based on an adjusted version of the problem-based learning environment inventory [Senocak, E. 2009. "Development of an Instrument for Assessing Undergraduate Science Students’ Perceptions: The Problem-based Learning Environment Inventory." Journal of Science Education Technology 18 (6): 560–569], data regarding students’ perception were collected through a questionnaire survey and analysed by applying exploratory factor analysis and structural equation modelling. The analysis revealed a three-factorial PBL environment consisting of learning facilitator support, student responsibility and project quality, with strong influences of students’ personal situation on project quality, interest on the learning facilitator support and ability to succeed on students’ responsibility. Supporting students’ general interest in engineering seems to improve their perception of the learning facilitator support and ensuring students’ ability to succeed in a PBL environment seems to increase students’ awareness of their own responsibility.