Universitat Politècnica de València (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2023 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 6181-6187
ISBN: 978-84-09-55942-8
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2023.1542
Conference name: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 13-15 November, 2023
Location: Seville, Spain
Challenge Based Learning (CBL) is an active learning methodology developed in close-to-real life environments which mimics professional situations. During CBL, students mobilize the resources required for the acquisition of competences while interacting with classmates, teachers, and experts, in a designed context. The related literature has extensively reported that CBL contributes to the development of transversal and professional competences; however, there is no such knowledge on how the different elements of the CBL approach effectively contribute to this development. The main aim of this experience was to elucidate which elements of the CBL approach contribute to the development and acquisition of transversal and professional competences, in three courses of the food and biotechnological engineering areas.

Transversal and specific competences were chosen based on previous CBL experiences, and according to students’ opinion. Selected competences were different for the three courses involved in the experience and depended mainly on the characteristics of the CBL approaches. CBL projects were divided into their main components or deliverables: process diagram, Excel calculations and defense to a panel of experts; abstract, index or proposal of contents, poster, review paper, and defense to a panel of experts; or written report, PowerPoint presentation, and defense to a panel of experts. A survey was designed and adapted to each course considering the CBL elements and the transversal and professional competences chosen. Students had to score in a 1-5 Likert scale their perception on the contribution of each CBL element to the development of the selected competences.

As expected, students perceived that all deliverables significantly contributed to the acquisition of the selected competences. In general, competences such as “teamwork and leadership” or “capacity for the search and use of information” received the highest scores, followed by “project and design”, “oral and written effective communication”, “application and practical thinking” or “apply knowledge to solutions and applications”. As for deliverables, students scored higher “proposal of contents”, “abstract” or “review paper” than “poster” or “defense to a panel of experts”. This was an interesting result since the latter were the elements of the CBL considered more interesting and engaging. These results suggest that these elements which are more innovative or engaging are not necessarily the ones which contribute the most to competence acquisition, as perceived by students. It was also interesting to note that the deliverables which scored higher especially contributed to competences such as “search and use of information”, “teamwork” and “project and design”. Other activities such as delivery of flowchart diagram and related calculations contributed mainly to “problems, analysis and resolution” and “ability to apply engineering principles to the food industry”.

In conclusion, this study has evidenced the impact of the CBL elements on the development of transversal and professional competences and has contributed to increase students’ awareness on the acquisition of such competences. In addition, it is expected that the analyses of students’ opinion will allow to specify indicators and criteria that could be incorporated to rubrics or other assessment tools for the evaluation of the acquisition of transversal and specific competences through CBL approaches.
Challenge based learning, competence development, student centred approach, active methodologies, real contexts.