The Impacts of Project Based Learning on Self-Directed Learning and Professional Skill Attainment: A Comparison of Project Based Learning to Traditional Engineering Education

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



Based upon a successful implementation of an upper-division project based learning (PBL) curriculum, an integrated first/second year PBL experience was designed and implemented. The integrated courses were physics 1, statics, design, and professionalism. The curriculum has been delivered from 2012 to 2015. This work in progress paper describes the design process, the trajectory of the program as it continuously improved, data collection methods, and initial results. Two of the members of this research team were members of the team that adapted the Aalborg (Denmark) model of PBL to an upper division 100% PBL curriculum. The model evolved into an ABET accredited program that is based on the solution of complex industry problems for the last four semesters of a bachelors degree. The results were used as the basis for the design of this lower division PBL program. The lower division program evolved from 2012 to 2015. Upon conclusion of the lower division experience, survey instruments were administered to students. Tools specific to self-directed learning and professional development were employed. The instruments are the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) and professional development and professional expectations instruments designed by the authors of this paper.


Integrated Engineering



Publication Title

2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)