Development of the Learning Process in a Project-based Learning Environment

Development of the Learning Process in a Project-based Learning Environment

J. Roslöf, S. Määttä, M. Säisä (2017).  Development of the Learning Process in a Project-based Learning Environment. 9.

"the FIRMA" is a project-based learning environment in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) unit of Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS). the FIRMA was established by combining multiple learning environments a few years ago. Best practices from all the learning environments were combined and became the FIRMA's project process. The project process is divided into two parts: quality process and learning process. The quality process defines means how to maintain and improve the quality of the projects and the operations of the FIRMA. The learning process means how the students doing project work in the learning environment are able to demonstrate their competences and, accordingly, gain credits and grades. This paper describes how the learning process is developed and how it takes into account both CDIO and TUAS Innovation Pedagogy principles.

The projects in the FIRMA are usually related to ICT field. Typical project assignments include, for example, web development, database or game design tasks, digital marketing activities and Lego robot building camps for children. Customers are usually local small or medium sized enterprises and sometimes even internal TUAS customers. Majority of students active in the FIRMA are studying in the ICT-focused Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Business Administration degree programmes. Some students study only a few credits in the FIRMA whereas other students study a major part of their degree there. For example in 2016, more than a hundred students worked in the FIRMA’s projects earning over a thousand ECTS credits. Having a well-structured and easily applicable learning process clarifies the assessment of the project work for such a number of students and enables the growth of the FIRMA in the future.

The learning process is developed so that it follows the principles of CDIO and Innovation Pedagogy. Innovation Pedagogy is a pedagogical strategy of TUAS. Learning by doing and developing working life skills are emphasized in both CDIO and Innovation Pedagogy and are also the cornerstones of the FIRMA’s operations. In general, 27 hours of project work in the FIRMA equals one credit. Grades are formed based on students' self and group assessment, project's customer's feedback and teacher's assessment. The grading scale used in the assessment uses numerical grading from zero to five, where zero means fail and five means excellent. The assessed areas include the development of technical skills, following of the FIRMA’s practices and student’s work performance. In general, students have been satisfied with the process. First, it keeps the focus of learning objectives in the correct topics considering, among other things, the working life skills. Second, it provides students with more visibility to their learning progress in form of assessments and grades.

Proceedings of the 13th International CDIO Conference in Calgary, Canada, June 18-22 2017

Authors (New): 
Janne Roslöf
Sanna Määttä
Marika Säisä
Turku University of Applied Sciences, Turku, Finland
Learning environment
learning process
CDIO Standard 3
CDIO Standard 5
CDIO Standard 6
CDIO Standard 7
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