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Application of Problem Based Learning in Mechanics of Machines Course

, , University of Botswana

International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy Volume 9, Number 1, e-ISSN Publisher: International Association of Online Engineering


The predominant educational methods in engineering education follow traditional classroom teaching, with some elements of tutorials and lab work. Although, there has been a growing tendency in recent years to introduce elements of active learning, and in particular problem-based (PBL) and project-based learning (PjBL). The paper reports on an attempt to use PBL in a topic on kinematics analysis of planar linkages, in a 3-credit course on Mechanics of Machines, offered in Year 3 of a 5-year BEng Mechanical Engineering programme. The aim of this study was to investigate the students’ response and perception to such a learning environment. A survey was administered to investigate students’ views on the application of problem-based learning in the course. The survey proves that the students responded well to the new approach en-joying activity (72%), trying hard (94%) feeling positive (68%), considering time spent to be beneficial (90%) and believing in instructor having best interest of the students in mind (74%). The response was also positive to interest generation and motivation towards the topic; 82% and 78% positive responses, respectively. The students were convinced about the learning new knowledge aspect of PBL. The majority declared learning more by gathering information themselves (66%) and especially more details on the topic in comparison to the traditional lecture/tutorial approach (72%).


Uziak, J. & Kommula, V. Application of Problem Based Learning in Mechanics of Machines Course. International Journal of Engineering Pedagogy, 9(1), 68-83. Retrieved October 22, 2020 from .

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