INDIRECT BENEFITS OF PROJECT-BASED LEARNING
Once the students arrive to the University, we find a wide number of student's profiles: they come from different centers, studies, modules and branches. In other words, the students have a different academic and personal origin. Besides, they find a new habitat in the University: a new city, new friends and teachers, new areas of study, new technologies, online platforms, etc. The main objective is that the students adapt to the new habitat in a brief time. That is the way to assume the new rights, duties and obligations the University creates for them. The initial and main objective is the adaptation of the student to the new situation. But we have to be aware that there is an important risk: if the students do not adapt to the new life, they could feel very frustrated.
With the new scenario designed by the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), the educational current methodologies bear in mind the way of working the specific and transverse competences. In addition there are born in mind the different technologies of evaluation of these competences. In turn, these methodologies indirectly support other (not so visible) elements, such as the integration of students. This element, the integration of the students, is a relevant factor related directly to the academic failure or success.
The experience of the cooperative work (implemented in the subject of “Accounting” in the last two academic years in Economy Degree) offers us satisfactory information to stress the validity of this didactic strategy in the integration of the new students in the university family. Obviously, it does not concern only the specific and transverse competences of the Degree, but also it creates a more positive attitude between the teachers and students; a reduction of the academic failure; the achievement of the expectations, and the necessary feedback to maintain the initial motivations.
In fact, the Project-Based Learning, when the problem is solved in groups, was chasing the specific and transverse competences but also claimed a more effective adaptation and integration of the students. In the same way, the cooperative learning is a tool for the teachers to evaluate the transverse competences and support the invisible aspects between the subjects, departments and teachers.