Linkoping University (SWEDEN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 7899-7907
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Problem-based teaching has been on the agenda in higher education for at least the last twenty years. Today it is commonly used, sometimes as a frame for full educational programs or in single courses. In particular, it is common in educational programs aiming towards employability in specific professions as in the medical practices for example for nurse and physiotherapists. A main aim of the teaching methods is to prepare students for specific professional situations. A key capacity in their prospected professional competences is the application and use of tools and models for problem solving.

However, in higher education with broader and more general academic aims such professional situations and competences are less obvious for the students and rarely communicated and conceptualized by the teachers. The teaching aim is rather based on theoretical grounds striving to promote competences to reflect upon and analyse processes rather than finding a given solution in academic disciplines as philosophy, international relations and political science. Here higher academic educations basically address another focus than developing professional competences. It rather builds on a theory of science closer to episteme than fronesis. In such teaching situations the focus is rather on theories, analysis and making a distance than on applicable solutions as in problem-based teaching.

To use the positive experiences from problem-based educations we have developed and tested a model of teaching theories by linking to problems, but without the focus on problem-solving. This paper will present pedagogical development project in three theoretical masters program at a Swedish university. The aim of the project has been to deepen the understanding of theories by encouraging students to apply and use theories on real problems. The approach has been differently designed into the three programs but the common focus has been that we do not take off in the problem, but the students have to find the problem and explain how it fits to the theories they learn. In this paper the design, implementation and in particular our evaluations of the courses included in the project will be discusses. The general conclusions will contribute to the more general knowledge on collaborative and problem-based learning.
Collaborative and Problem-based Learning, theoretical focus, masters education.