Implementing project-based learning in a civil engineering course: A practitioner's perspective

Prateek Shekhar, Maura Borrego

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Project-based learning (PBL) promotes development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills by allowing students to work in teams on real world projects. However, in spite of its effectiveness, the use of PBL in engineering classrooms has been limited due to the challenges associated with its design and implementation. Instructors have reported concerns regarding the amount of time required in administering PBL and difficulty in aligning projects with student workload preferences. While several studies have been conducted to examine the effectiveness ofPBLin engineering courses, minimal research attention has been devoted to finding effective strategies for using PBL. Most recommendations in the literature have been primarily anecdotal. In this practitioner-focused study, we present an examination of a PBL engineering course and explicate techniques for implementing PBL. Using classroom observations, instructor interviews, student focus groups and surveys, we examine instructional approach and students' response to PBL. The findings offer several strategies for designing project tasks, sequencing projects, assigning presentation topics, and selecting readings in PBL course.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1138-1148
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • General Engineering


  • Active learning
  • Instructor strategies
  • Project-based learning


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