Understanding Problem Based Learning in school-based STEM education

Kathy Smith, Jennifer Mansfield, Deb Corrigan, Nicoleta Maynard, Amanda Berry, Peter Ellerton, Charlotte Pezaro, Shelley Waldron

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


To explore Problem Based Learning (PBL) as a way to enhance Australian school-based STEM education, researchers from Monash University and Queensland University (UQ) are working with Melbourne Archdiocese of Catholic Schools (MACS) and Brisbane Catholic Education (BCE). This presentation reports on the findings of Phase one which addresses the question: What principles define the fundamental nature and intention of a PBL model of STEM Education? PBL experts in both science and engineering, from across Australia and internationally, were invited to take part in online focus groups. The analysis aimed to elicit some key principles, issues and values associated with PBL from a practice perspective. Findings identified a range of key considerations including, the typology of problems, the importance of context, teacher identity, the role of time, assessing a process of learning rather than focusing on the assessment of a product, and understanding the difference between problem solving and PBL. The significance of the learning environment, including access to and use of both physical space and learning tools was also highlighted. This information informs the next phase of the project which explores the development of a pedagogical framework for school-based STEM education.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventAustralasian Science Education Research Association Annual Conference 2021 - University of South Australia and Online, Adelaide , Australia
Duration: 30 Jun 20212 Jul 2021


ConferenceAustralasian Science Education Research Association Annual Conference 2021
Abbreviated titleASERA 2021
Internet address

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