Problem-based learning with database systems

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

14 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-263
Journal / PublicationComputers and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1994
Externally publishedYes


Recent research has shown that students' academic performance depends not only on their own efforts but also on the total environment in which they study. To stimulate students' interest and encourage them to participate in the whole learning process, methods of problem-based learning (PBL) have been introduced in teaching database subjects in the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales. This paper reports an experiment with PBL. In a database subject, students were first exposed to a practical problem in the form of a project and were asked to design and implement a database system to solve it. They were required to work in groups and to acquire other skills and knowledge not taught in the classroom. Formal decision theory was used in designing and obtaining the assessment criteria for evaluating the outcomes of PBL. The method invited students to participate in the evaluation process, creating a non-threatening environment for learning and providing a fair method of assessment. Their approaches to learning have been analysed using the Study Process Questionnaire (SPQ). The statistical results show that there is a significant linear relationship between students taking a deep or an achieving approach to learning and the outcomes of their projects. © 1994.