An interdisciplinary complex problem as a starting point for learning: Impact of the PBL method in second-year Environmental engineering students

E. Saez de Camara, A. Lopez-Urionabarrenechea, M. N. Azpiazu, P. Ruiz de Arbulo, G. Insunza


Three courses of the second year degree in Environmental Engineering (Geology and Pedology, Ecology and Economics and Business Administration) have been remodeled using the Problem-Based Learning methodology. The proposed problem is a real-life and integrative problem related to their specialization which must be solved in these three courses at the same time. The results reveal that during this experience students were considerably more active, cooperative and involved, and the success rate doubled that of similar engineering courses of the Faculty. Regarding students’ opinion, it should be emphasized that they perceive that this method is functional and encouraging. A high percentage of the students describe the experience as positive or very positive. Additionally, they stated that the Problem-Based Learning promoted the development of skills that, in their own view, are essential for their career, such as teamwork and communication.


Problem-Based Learning; Environmental Engineering; Interdisciplinary approach; Life-long learning; Intrinsic motivation.

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