Civil and Environmental Engineering


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Torres, A., Hu, J., Sriraman, V., Martínez-Ortiz, A. M., & Membrillo-Hernández, J. (2022). Assessing the effectiveness of problem-based learning across two concrete construction courses. International Journal of Instruction, 15(4), 473-496.


Used by permission.


The goal of this study is to assess the effectiveness of a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) pedagogy that was implemented in two different concrete construction courses. Both courses are a part of an industry focused four-year undergraduate concrete degree program. One of the classes focused on concrete problems, diagnosis, and repair of existing concrete, while the other class focused on handling and management methods of various concrete mixtures. In both courses, a PBL pedagogy was implemented such that students were self-learning and discovering the knowledge through an action-research case study. The action-research case study was specific to the course outcomes relevant to each course, but were assessed similarly. A total of eight different assessment methods were implemented across both courses’ multiple times from 2012 – 2019. The results showed that the students are highly benefiting from the PBL pedagogy, which was indicated across all assessment methods. Each assessment technique provided a unique insight into student comprehension or benefits of the PBL pedagogy. The most beneficial assessment techniques were; pre- and post-student assessment, level of understanding and confidence, pre- and post-objective student assessment, and report assessment. These four assessment techniques provide both direct (objective) and indirect (subjective) assessment, while only requiring four total surveys.