Browsing by Subject "project-based learning"

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  • Juuti, Kalle; Lavonen, Jari; Salonen, Visajaani; Salmela-Aro, Katariina; Schneider, Barbara; Krajcik, Joseph (2021)
    We present teacher-researcher partnership (TRP) as a way of fostering teachers' professional learning. Teachers' participation as research group members is an essential aspect of the partnership. Teachers and researchers share the same goal, which is to improve their understanding of and enhance students' engagement in science. Project-based learning (PBL) was selected as a means of enhancing student engagement. The activities of the partnership focused on the co-design and enactment of and co-reflection on PBL units. Teachers participated in the design of the data collection process and the interpretation of initial findings. As an indicator of teachers' professional learning, we examined students' engagement during different implementations of the PBL units. Student engagement was measured using a situational experience sampling questionnaire delivered via mobile phones. The students' experiences of scientific practices and engagement in actual learning situations were measured in the first and second years of the teachers' implementation of the teaching units. An analysis of the students' responses showed that the students were 20% more engaged in the second year than in the first year. We argue that TRP has the potential to enhance teachers' professional learning.
  • Fagerholm, Fabian; Hellas, Arto; Luukkainen, Matti; Kyllönen, Kati; Yaman, Sezin; Mäenpää, Hanna (2018)
    Today’s students are prospective entrepreneurs, as well as potential employees in modern, start-up-like intrapreneurship environments within established companies. In these settings, software development projects face extreme requirements in terms of innovation and attractiveness of the end-product. They also suffer severe consequences of failure such as termination of the development effort and bankruptcy. As the abilities needed in start-ups are not among those traditionally taught in universities, new knowledge and skills are required to prepare students for the volatile environment that new market entrants face. This article reports experiences gained during seven years of teaching start-up knowledge and skills in a higher-education institution. Using a design-based research approach, we have developed the Software Factory, an educational environment for experiential, project-based learning. We offer a collection of patterns and anti-patterns that help educational institutions to design, implement and operate physical environments, curricula and teaching materials, and to plan interventions that may be required for project-based start-up education.
  • Markula, Anette (Helsingin yliopisto, 2019)
    Interdisciplinary studies are currently an important topic in education. One reason behind this is the idea that students should learn 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, communication and problem-solving skills for their future careers. Interdisciplinary education has also been shown to increase students’ interest towards natural sciences. Furthermore, organizing cross-curricular learning units has become compulsory at a curricular level in Finland and other countries. Project-based learning is a widely supported teaching method in which learning is organized around projects. It is also a natural method to carry out interdisciplinary learning units. Project-based learning is usually defined by its characteristic features, and its successful implementation requires the teacher to have a good knowledge of them. However, these characteristics tend to be unknown for teachers. Research has also shown that teachers’ conceptions of what interdisciplinary education and project-based learning are, tend to vary. As such, it has been noted in the literature that there is a need to offer training and materials for the implementation of interdisciplinary and project-based learning for in-service teachers. Although MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have a lot of potential as a means of professional development, they are rarely planned to serve primarily as in-service teacher training. Empirical research into their design is also scarce. The main aims in this study were to 1) provide more information about interdisciplinary education within biology education 2) develop a MOOC for the professional development of biology teachers on the topic of interdisciplinary education and project-based learning. In addition to that the study aimed to develop the StarT programme of LUMA Centre Finland. The study was carried out as design-based research. The main research question that directed the design process was: what should a MOOC that supports teachers to carry out interdisciplinary project-based learning within the theme “nature and environment” in biology be like? Nature and environment was chosen as the context of the study as from the perspective of biology education it offers an important and current topic for interdisciplinary project units. The main research question was approached through a theoretical and empirical problem analysis. Theoretical problem analysis focused on researching the question in earlier literature, and the empirical problem analysis was carried out as a case study in which qualitative data was studied through deductive content analysis. The materials studied in the empirical problem analysis were project-based learning units of comprehensive schools and high schools. Their project units were studied through the following research questions: 1. How did teachers and students carry out the characteristics of project-based learning in the context of the theme nature and environment in biology? 2. How is biology taught in an interdisciplinary way in the theme nature and environment? The first question was studied through the characteristics that were identified for project-based learning in the theoretical problem analysis, and the second by looking at which subjects collaborated with biology, how the collaboration was carried out and how the learning communities experienced it. The goal was to find a) challenging characteristics of project-based learning and interdisciplinary education that should be considered the design of the MOOC b) good examples from the studied learning communities to be shared on the MOOC. The study subjects consisted of 12 learning communities who had participated in the international StarT programme of LUMA Centre Finland. In accordance with earlier studies, also the subjects of this study struggled especially with driving questions, the unity of the project activities and in using the projects as a means to learn central contents. Scientific practices were visible well apart from students’ questions, but it could not be defined how strongly student-led the inquiry was. The connection between instructions of StarT and the characteristics of project-based learning that were well represented in the materials seemed evident: collaboration, sharing results, end products and using technology were all visible throughout the analyzed learning communities. However, the materials offered little information about how the collaboration between different subjects was carried out in practice. The study indicated also that students and teachers paid attention to different aspects of the learning taking place in project-based learning, and that teachers might include topics of certain subjects into the project units without realizing it. This should be further researched, however. The issues identified in the problem analyses were used to design an international MOOC that is suitable especially for biology teachers. The course ”Project-based learning and the theory behind it – create your own project!” was created on the Moodle-platform of the University of Helsinki. In addition to this, a phased model for creating professional development in a situation where the studied materials can be used both to direct the design process and as materials on the course was created. The framework that was created for the analyses in this study can also be further used and developed to study how characteristics of project-based learning are represented in other cases where teachers’ and students’ project units are being studied. The study provided also new information about what is possible and feasible to study from the materials of StarT. New information was provided also of the project-based learning that takes place at the schools of the StarT participants, as they have not been researched from the perspective of the characteristics of project-based learning earlier.
  • Makkonen, Taina; Tirri, Kirsi; Lavonen, Jari (2021)
    Research on the advantages and disadvantages of project-based learning (PBL) among gifted pupils studying physics is scarce. This mixed-methods study investigates engagement, experiences, and learning outcomes among gifted Finnish uppersecondary-level students learning physics through PBL. A six-lesson PBL module on basic Newtonian mechanics was designed and implemented for a group of gifted students (N = 38), whereas a traditional teacher-driven approach was used among a control group (N = 38) of gifted students. Data were collected by means of a questionnaire, interviews and a physics test. According to the results, PBL met the preconditions (challenge, skill, interest) for engaging the students in learning physics. It generated interest in learning among the vast majority, but not as many found it challenging. The findings also highlight the impact of autonomy when learning through PBL. No differences in overall learning outcomes were found between the groups.
  • Uusoksa, Julia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    This is a research on how the manifestation of critical thinking skills of secondary school students was supported in the different iterations of the Global Challenges phenomenom-based learning course. Phenomenom-based learning (PhBL) is one alternative on how to teach critical information gathering and processing skills – also known as knowledge building – which are vital in the modern society. The implemented models of PhBL, however, lack foundational research and they’ve been criticized to be a waste of time. This thesis introduces how PhBL can be carried out in a pedagogically meaningful way by utilizing the theories of project-based learning, inquiry-based learning and collaborative knowledge building. Three years of design work resulted in a research-based model on how to organize a PhBL course for secondary education. The model is justified and criticized in the framework of the national curriculum and previous research. This thesis follows the design-based research (DBR) protocol by describing the needs, different processes and the final product of the design. Research material was gathered from the Global Challenges course that was organized from 2017 to 2019 by Helsinki University Science Education Center for students of secondary schools. The gathered material is mostly qualitative, constisting of the course materials, participant observation carried out by the university students and narrative self-evaluations, course artefacts and summative feedbacks from the secondary school students. In the first iteration 10 out of 19 attending students were observed, whereas in the second iteration all seven attending students were observed. The observation reports of the first two iterations were subjected to empirical problem analysis. In the third iteration participant observation was no longer carried out, and all material consists of the course assignments that the 17 attending students submitted in to the created MOOC web-learning environment. The manifestation of the critical thinking skills on the secondary school students’ course assignments in 2nd and 3rd iterations were comparatively analyzed with The Vocabulary of Critical Thinking Skills (2009) by Phil Washburn. A successfull practice of phenomenom-based learning required well defined structure and guidance. The goals of the course were met only partially in the first iterations, because the freedom and fun didn’t motivate the students to invest in the knowledge building process. The elements implemented in the last iteration supported meeting the goals considerably more efficiently than the model of free knowledge creation. The manifestation of the critical thinking skills was connected to the ability to follow the structures modelled after the Progressive inquiry. The conclusion was that the structures of PhBL must be built up carefully, if they are to challenge the traditional subject learning model in a pedagogically meaningful way.
  • Fagerholm, Fabian; Vihavainen, Arto (IEEE, 2013)
    To prepare students for real-life software engineering projects, many higher-education institutions offer courses that simulate working life to varying degrees. As software engineering requires not only technical, but also inter- and intrapersonal skills, these skills should also be assessed. Assessing soft skills is challenging, especially when project-based and experiential learning are the primary pedagogical approaches. Previous work suggests that including students in the assessment process can yield a more complete picture of student performance. This paper presents experiences with developing and using a peer assessment framework that provides a 360-degree view on students' project performance. Our framework has been explicitly constructed to accommodate and evaluate tacit skills that are relevant in agile software development. The framework has been evaluated with 18 bachelors- and 11 masters-level capstone projects, totaling 176 students working in self-organized teams. We found that the framework eases teacher workload and allows a more thorough assessment of students' skills. We suggest including self- and peer assessment into software capstone projects alongside other, more traditional schemes like productivity metrics, and discuss challenges and opportunities in defining learning goals for tacit and social skills.
  • Aksela, Maija; Haatainen, Outi (Queensland University of Technology, 2019)
  • Splichal, Jin Michael; Oshima, Jun; Oshima, Ritsuko (2018)
    Many studies attempt to effectively support student regulation of collaboration using CSCL tools to enrich learning outcomes. However, few studies are aimed at facilitating development of students' internal scripts for regulation of collaboration. This study focuses on developing and evaluating a computer-mediated learning environment for project-based learning to facilitate student internal scripts for regulation by designing external scripts for effective reflection. Forty- eight first-year university students participated in this study as part of their curriculum. Our analyses of their internal scripts before and after PBL participation revealed that significantly more students who encountered an unfamiliar situation during collaboration constructed new regulation scripts. Moreover, in case studies, we found that students augmented their scripts for socially shared regulation when recognizing socio-cognitive challenges, whereas they augmented co-regulation and self-regulation scripts when recognizing socio-emotional challenges.
  • Haatainen, Outi Maria; Turkka, Jaakko Samuli; Aksela, Maija (2021)
    To understand how integrated science education (ISE) can be transferred into successful classroom practices, it is important to understand teachers’ perceptions and self-efficacy. The focus of this study is twofold: (1) to understand how teachers perceive ISE and (2) to assess if science teachers’ perceptions of and experiences with integrated education correlate with their views on self-efficacy in relation to ISE. Ninety-five Finnish science teachers participated in an online survey study. A mixed method approach via exploratory factor analysis and data-driven content analysis was used. Self-efficacy emerged as a key factor explaining teachers’ perceptions of and their lack of confidence in implementing ISE as well as their need for support. In addition, teachers regarded ISE as a relevant teaching method, but challenging to implement, and teachers primarily applied integrated approaches irregularly and seldom. Furthermore, teachers’ experiences with integrated activities and collaboration correlated with their views on integrated education and self-efficacy. These findings indicate teachers need support to better understand and implement ISE.
  • Vesikivi, Petri; Lakkala, Minna; Holvikivi, Jaana; Muukkonen, Hanni (2019)
    In 2014, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences implemented a fundamental change in its curriculum from small single topic 3-5 credits courses into 15 credits multidisciplinary courses implemented by teacher teams. This paper focuses on how teachers of Information Technology programs experienced the reform. Research data include teacher feedback and opinions that were collected during training sessions and interviews. Team teaching is a substantial change for teachers that raises concerns about time management, getting enough compensation for the work and possible loss of teacher autonomy. However, teacher teams that managed to overcome these challenges saw a variety of benefits in the new approach. Not only was team teaching seen as a means for providing students with the skills they need, but it also was discovered as a way to enhance the teacher's own professional development.