Problem Based Learning and the Development of Professional Competences: An Experience in the Field of Biomedical Engineering

 

ABSTRACT

In recent decades, one important objective in higher education has been developing professionals who can display competences in their specific work fields. Hence, the development of such competences and skills has been a widely discussed, highlighting that the use of active pedagogical initiatives might be the best approach to fulfill this requirement. In this study we analyze the studentsí perspective of the implementation of a hybrid curriculum between Problem-based Learning and Project Oriented Problem-based Learning in a course called introduction to biomedical engineering. In addition, we discuss different aspects of how competences are developed through this hybrid curriculum that was designed using course objectives and competences. Furthermore, data from 78 students from 7 different cohorts is analyzed and discussed from a qualitative approach developed from a critical and hermeneutic perspective. The results show that students are able to identify and understand differences between a passive pedagogical strategy that is centered in the teacher, and an active pedagogical strategy, centered in the student. Moreover, they acknowledge the changes from one strategy to the other as drivers for participation and development of competences in the field of engineering -namely ethics and professional responsibility, effective communication, and understanding the impact of solutions proposed in the field on local and a global contexts.