P. Juskiw

Glion Institute of Higher Education (SWITZERLAND)
This paper considers the educational basis of student centered learning on industrial/educational (I/E) links on Applied Business Projects (ABPs). It connects problem based learning (PBL) with three learning outcomes, cognitive learning outcomes, behavioral learning outcomes, and affective learning outcomes. It also considers some underlying theory on situational interest and cognitively induced experience. Most of the research on problems in PBL revolves around the issue of what makes a good problem in the views of tutors and students.

The general message from these studies is that a problem should:
(i) be authentic, and realistic;
(ii) be adapted to the students’ level of prior knowledge;
(iii) engage students in discussion;
(iv) lead to the identification of appropriate learning issues;
(v) stimulate student directed learning, and
(vi) be interesting.

Of course, a key question concerns how these attributes influence student learning in PBL, such as how problems lead to the identification of appropriate learning issues. It also considers the shift from teacher centered learning. This paper investigates the effectiveness of problems in an MBA course by comparing the learning issues identified by students with those intended by faculty members. The assumption behind this investigation was that an effective problem should lead students to identify the learning issues referred to by the problem designers when they developed the problem. This is further elaborated by the student’s interest and desire to find out more about a topic which leads to increased and focused attention to solve the problem. Underlying theory, especially proposed by Loewenstien which identified the psychological process in which humans seem to have a natural tendency to make sense of the world, this can be described as situational interest, this term implies that it is not stable or dispositional interest, but the interest is aroused by the problem at hand. This phenomenon has been referred to as cognitively induced experience of (knowledge) deprivation. This experience of deprivation initiates information-seeking behavior intended to close the knowledge gap (i.e. learning occurs). As the knowledge gap closes, through the assimilation of new information into existing knowledge structures, situational interest decreases until the knowledge equilibrium is re-established.