Problem-based Learning in Higher Education: Implications for Theory-Practice-Transfer

Problem-based Learning in Higher Education: Implications for Theory-Practice-Transfer

This Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) project deals with the problem-based learning process of students in an undergraduate service learning course at a German University of Applied Sciences. Based on a lean design thinking cycle (observation-ideation-implementation; cf. Ries, 2011) and the continuous reflection on their learning experiences, students in this course learn to implement a crowdfunding project for social enterprises. As previous research has shown, the didactic concept of service learning in this course initiates problem-based learning at different levels. This will be done through the following aspects: (a) a deep understanding and exploration of a topic in their field of training (here, financing of social enterprises), (b) the promotion of both entrepreneurial as well as intra- and interpersonal communication and team skills, (c) community engagement and social responsibility in challenging fields of society, while applying theories, concepts and methods to practice, and (d) the preparation for a job in child and youth work at the bachelor level (EQR level 6). The project includes open observations of the self and others, collection of interview data to describe students’ perception of a problem, contracting, structuring their learning process, decision-making, communication, conflict and problem-solving skills, and team development. The SoTL project is based on concepts and approaches of ‘management education and learning’ regarding the special role of problem-based learning in service learning scenarios (e.g. Brownell & Jameson, 2004; Csapó & Funke, 2017; Guo et al., 2016; Kolenko, Porter, & Wheatley, 1996). This talk not only presents initial findings of the qualitative-empirical social research process accompanying the crowdfunding course, but also leads a discussion and reflection of sustainable frameworks for good teaching practices, management didactics in higher education and the achievement of teaching and learning goals of service learning at the level of the learner, study program and university (micro, meso and macro levels). Following the impulse contribution, there will be an exchange with the participants on the use of service learning in university didactics, the development of quality in teaching, best practices and future research needs.

See Publications: Arnold, M. (2019). Problem-based Learning in Higher Education Service Learning: Implications for Theory-Practice-Transfer. In Universidad del País Vasco, & RED-U (Eds.), Exploring new fields through the scholarship of teaching and learning. Proceedings of 3rd EuroSoTL Conference June 13-14, 2019 (pp. 603-613). Bilbao: Universidad del País Vasco.* [18/08/19].

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Dr. Maik Arnold is Professor for Non-Profit-Management and Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Transfer at University of Applied Science Dresden.