Pbl+, a tailor-made learning-teaching methodology for stem, based on a combination of problem based learning (pbl) and other three innovative methodologies

  1. B. Urbano 1
  2. X. Gomez 2
  3. M.E. Sanchez-Moran 2
  4. M.I. San-Martin 2
  5. R. Mateos 2
  6. C. Fernandez 2
  7. E.J. Martinez 2
  8. O. Martinez-Moran 2
  9. A. Moran 2
  10. F. Gonzalez-Andres 2
  1. 1 Universidad de Valladolid

    Universidad de Valladolid

    Valladolid, España

    ROR https://ror.org/01fvbaw18

  2. 2 Univesrity of León
EDULEARN20 Proceedings: 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning TechnologiesOnline Conference. 6-7 July, 2020.

Publisher: IATED Academy

ISBN: 978-84-09-17979-4

Year of publication: 2020

Pages: 1644-1651

Type: Book chapter


PBL+, acronym of Problem Based Learning Plus, is a combination of teaching-learning innovations, designed and tested for practical credits in Engineering subjects, in order to really meet the competences assigned in the educational guide to practical activities. In brief, students working in small groups of two to three members, get in contact with a company, and in close relation with a commissioned person, work in a problem that is currently affecting the company. PBL+ has been successfully applied to subjects associated with Agricultural Engineer, Mining and Energy Engineering and Pharmaceutical Industries Engineering. The other methodologies used in PBL+ were Flipped Classroom, rubrics-based evaluation of the activity, and in some cases service learning. Regarding the Flipped Classroom, this activity was proposed to the students at the beginning of the course, before studying the theoretical basis, which are after presented as the necessary tools to solve the problem. In order to evaluate the achievement of competences proposed in PBL+, specifically designed rubrics were used. The rubrics were managed with the complement of Google-Suite Co-Rubrics. The use of rubrics improved the understanding of the practical activity by students. Moreover, another key aspect for the success of PBL+, was the normalization of correspondence between the competence to be evaluated, and the dimension or dimensions established in the rubric to evaluate such competence. The normalization encompassed different subjects from the Engineering degrees included in the pilot program. In such a way, when the same competences applied in different subjects, these were evaluated using the same dimensions in the rubric, which facilitated understanding the activities proposed to fulfil the practical competences by students. The normalization generated a table publicly accessible, with the standardized dimensions intended to evaluate competences. At the same time, competences were also standardized at the National level (the basic competences) or at the University level (transversal and general competences), and thus the creation of standardized indicators to evaluate competences improved students’ self-evaluation, and achieved a better understanding of the practical activity by students. In some other cases, PBL+ was also used a service learning activity, as long as problems to be solved were related with small self-directed companies, particularly in the Agrarian sector. The relevance of small companies in the business world is undeniable, and to help such kind of companies to improve their competitiveness is a first-class service to the community. PBL+ has proved to be an optimal methodology to fulfil practical competences of STEM degrees in engineering specialities.