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Problem Based Learning in Higher Education through project ALIEN

Problem Based Learning in Higher Education through project ALIEN

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (E-CE) is coordinating research activities related to capacity building on the deployment of information technology in problem-based learning. In problem-centered learning, students build knowledge by solving a specific problem. The selected problems are typically inspired by real life and are often open-ended, meaning they do not have a single solution. Problem-based learning challenges students to combine knowledge from different fields to synthesize a viable solution, simulating the way in which they will act in future roles as professionals. Problem-centered learning promotes the transfer of knowledge from academia to the professional world, contributing to linking learning with the needs of industry and society. As part of the ALIEN research project: Active Learning in Engineering Education (http://projectalien.eu), the Creative Technologies Learning Lab research team (http://ctll.e-ce.uth.gr) implements to promote problem-based learning as a strategic educational approach in tertiary education. The team works with 12 universities in Asia, in particular Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, and Pakistan. It also collaborates with 4 universities in Europe, namely Portugal, Estonia, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom.
The proposed learning intervention aims to address the challenges that slow down the integration of a problem-centered approach to education. In particular, computer labs have been set up at each of the 12 Asian universities. A digital collaboration platform has also been developed that aims to jointly build capacity on the deployment of problem-based learning for the benefit of students and teachers. The platform offers a repository of problems applicable in engineering education, the solution to which can be more effectively reached through the use of digital tools, simulations, and games. The platform further offers opportunities to exchange good practices on issues related to the practical application of problem-based learning as well as how it can be combined with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and digital learning games. Finally, teacher training is organized towards building the capacity of educators on integrating digital technologies and problem-based learning for enhancing classroom interactivity.
The 4th consortium meeting of project ALIEN took place at the University of Hanoi in Vietnam on December 4-6, 2019. The meeting was attended by all academic partners from Asia and Europe. Issues related to the operation of the new laboratories as well as the pilot use of digital research project services in learning processes were discussed. In addition, a transnational instructor training event was organized in which instructors from Vietnam, Pakistan, and Greece practiced problem-based learning activities by competing on building durable bridges with basic materials, namely spaghetti and adhesives. The activity was widely enjoyed by the audience and provided them with ideas on how to liven their classrooms through problem-based learning design.