Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2008

Summary of Projects

Project Title

Problem based learning in a technology enriched pre service teacher education course (Education Mysteries)

Project Leaders

Nicky Carr

Funds Approved

$20,561

Summary of the project, outcomes, impacts and dissemination

The objective of this LTIF project was to develop a bank of original, professional and interactive web-based learning objects and associated information architecture that supported the delivery of problem-based learning. The information architecture was intended to form a model for online delivery of problem-based learning for other areas of this university and beyond. The online resources, or learning objects, were also intended to have potential application in other Schools within RMIT. This project grew out of a strong desire to provide students with an innovative and technology enriched learning environment that supported collaborative knowledge building in a problem-based learning scenario. The learning objects and associated online environment were used in a pre-service teacher education course that integrated curriculum across disciplines and that used information and communications technologies in authentic and meaningful ways. Students in this course were immersed in an investigation of a fictitious problem, whilst at the same time interrogating the pedagogical strategies used by the teaching staff which they might adapt to their own teaching practices upon graduation.

The LTIF project centred on developing the online environment that supported the course in question and developing the multimedia learning objects. The online environment supported the publication and flexible distribution of ‘evidence’ that took the form of images, video, audio and text files as well as interactive multimedia objects to specific individual or groups of students to assist them in the problem-solving aspect of the course. The online environment also included a wiki space where teams of students could collaborate and where teaching staff could provide input to the student teams.

The project demonstrated to pre-service teaching students the potential of problem-based learning and associated student-centred pedagogical approaches as a learning and teaching approach. It also demonstrated how technology might be harnessed in meaningful and authentic ways to support learning, and that technology can be used to engage students in learning in new ways. The project was clearly designed to enhance the learning experience of our pre-service teacher education students and to expose them to different ways of learning and teaching. Reflections from students about the approaches taken to the course and the various aspects of the online environment were, by the end of the course, largely positive. However, CES results, which were gathered relatively early in the course, did not reflect the types of comments that students made on completion of the course.

The project also provided invaluable learning for university staff in developing and managing large, complex content development and delivery projects. Specifically these were in the areas of project scoping to reflect more realistic and achievable outcomes, and the need to ensure rigorous user testing of systems and learning objects prior to release to students.

Aspects of the project have been disseminated to audiences within RMIT, Australia and the international academic community in the form of presentations to groups of staff, symposia and international academic conferences.

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