1 The University of Nottingham (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Curtin University (AUSTRALIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN10 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 6325-6335
ISBN: 978-84-613-9386-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 2nd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-7 July, 2010
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Problem Based Learning (PBL) has been shown to be a highly effective learning method in a number of studies. It can be particularly effective in the transmission of procedural knowledge and suits particular learning styles. More specifically, a number of studies have identified that engineering students typically show a preference for this type of learning. However, research also has shown that the cultural background of teaching staff and students can play a major role in the effectiveness of more progressive styles of learning such as PBL.

For a number of years a teaching module based on PBL principles and utilising computer based simulation games has been used by the authors to instruct students about key aspects of construction management such as planning and control. The teaching method used was heavily student centred and required students to be highly self-motivated and capable of working from an intentionally limited and incomplete specification.

It was found that some groups of students seemed more suited to the PBL learning experience than others. Further investigation highlighted the possibility that the cultural background and previous learning experience of the students may be responsible for this discrepancy. Recent research focus has been placed on examining this effect and devising appropriate methods to ensure the best possible learning experience for all students.

Work done on identifying and clarifying cross cultural effects through interviews with staff and students, pre and post teaching questionnaires and analysis of student activity during the PBL exercise is described in some depth. Recent changes to the learning experience are also detailed along with preliminary results on their impact in mitigating any cultural effects on learning.
Problem Based Learning, Cross Cultural impacts.