American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2014, 2(8), 564-567
DOI: 10.12691/education-2-8-1
Open AccessArticle

Some Lessons from a 3-Year Experiment of Problem-Based Learning in Physics in a French School of Engineering

Philippe Ageorges1, Adriana Bacila1, Géraldine Poutot1 and Bernard Blandin1,

1Cesi School of Engineering, 30 rue Cambronne, F-75015 Paris, France

Pub. Date: July 15, 2014

Cite this paper:
Philippe Ageorges, Adriana Bacila, Géraldine Poutot and Bernard Blandin. Some Lessons from a 3-Year Experiment of Problem-Based Learning in Physics in a French School of Engineering. American Journal of Educational Research. 2014; 2(8):564-567. doi: 10.12691/education-2-8-1


In this experiment, a Problem-based learning methodology (PBL) is used to teach physics to engineering students. The efficiency of PBL is measured and compared to traditional teaching methods. Our experiment shows no major differences in terms of knowledge acquisition, conceptualization and physical reasoning. On the other hand, PBL shows an influence on cross-knowledge acquisition. Implementing PBL with large groups of students has faced many challenges. PBL is a highly destabilizing and demanding method for students. To make them accept the method and the effort, PBL method has been adapted with closer guidance from tutors. A preparatory program has also been set up. The experiment also shows that the lecturers’ acceptance and understanding are key success factors. It is a long process for experienced lecturers to move from a teacher-centered teaching method to a student-centered pedagogy. Lecturers need strong support and guidance from PBL experts but also from the faculty itself. More complex timetables have been designed to manage large groups of students with limited staff. The constraint is to maintain the same number of teaching hours as for traditional teaching. If difficulties have appeared throughout this experiment, benefits have been noticed over time. Students develop problem solving methodologies as well as communication and organizational skills. These benefits have been noticed by companies and students’ acceptance has improved over time.

problem based learning PBL in large group settings physics results of an experiment students’ acceptance teachers’ acceptance engineering students

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