Problem-Based Megaprojects: Complex Problem-Solving Competences & Interdisciplinarity in Higher Ed
This webinar is from the IFEES-GEDC webinar library.
With the growing need for solutions to address increasingly complex and diverse societal problems follows a need for more advanced skills and competences for the future.
Competences, not only within one field or discipline but collaborative and transversal competences across programmes and paradigms as well.
Educational institutions employ different strategies to support students in developing complex problem-solving skills in online and blended learning environments and one such strategy is the implementation of large scale and interdisciplinary student projects, or educational Megaprojects.
These projects address highly complex problems and grand societal challenges while giving the students the possibility to integrate interdisciplinary and digitally supported collaborative learning into semester projects.
Aalborg University (AAU) has since its beginning in the 1970’s applied an institution-wide Project-oriented Problem-Based Learning (PBL) model, with groups of students working on projects each spanning a full semester.
This approach has been shown to improve students’ collaborative skills and project-oriented competences, particularly within their own discipline. Since early 2000, initiatives have been developed to advance the level of interdisciplinary in student projects particularly within engineering programs.
In recent years this approach have been further expanded with the aim of including a wider variety of programs to collectively address the Sustainable Development Goals. In the fall of 2019, AAU launched AAU Megaprojects providing students across all faculties the opportunity to work together on complex problems and grand societal challenges. Each megaproject spans a duration of 2-3 years and the structure of a megaproject is scalable in nature with several focus areas and related challenges, with interdisciplinary clusters of groups working on each challenge.
This webinar will present the PBL megaproject approach as a way to bring in more variation in project-based group work and discuss how variation (e.g. in types of problems, projects and degree of interdisciplinary) in the learning experience has the potential to facilitate reflection on complex problem solving competences and create personal learning tracks in higher education.