Problem-based, cooperative learning in the engineering classroom

Peggy Ann Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Hydraulic Engineering, a junior/senior-level course, is typically taught in a lecture-based format. Lecturing as a singular teaching technique has repeatedly been shown to be ineffective. Lecturing does not advance problem-solving skills, does not require creative or critical thinking, and does not prepare students for the types of problems they will face as professional engineers. In this study, two teaching techniques, problem-based learning (PBL) and cooperative learning (CL), were used to enhance learning in the hydraulic engineering course. The goals of PBL are to provide the student with an active role in learning and to allow the student to take responsibility for learning. The goals of CL are to have students work in teams, thereby learning from both each other and the instructor, and to teach students to work together cooperatively in small groups. Methods of developing teams, projects, and other assignments were explored. The course was assessed midterm and at the end of the semester. As a result, some changes were made midsemester and other recommendations are made for the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16166
Pages (from-to)8-11
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Industrial relations
  • Strategy and Management


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