Measuring the Impact of Context and Problem Based Learning Approaches on Students’ Perceived Levels of Importance of Transferable & Workplace Skills

Dylan P Williams, Shane Lo Fan Hin


Year-one chemistry students at two different institutions were asked to rate the importance of a series of discipline-specific, transferable and laboratory skills by responding to a series of Likert-type questions. The students at both institutions had studied similar curricula but had different levels of experience of the Context and Problem Based Learning (C/PBL) approach. Analysis of the responses to the questionnaire was conducted by determining the “Level of Importance” (reported as the percentage of students at each Institution rating each skills as “Important” or “Very Important”). Both cohorts assigned a very similar level of importance to all discipline-specific and laboratory skills (i.e. under 10% difference). There were larger (>15%) differences between responses from the two institutions to statements on two transferable skills: Team-working Skills and Oral Presentation Skills, the cohort with exposure to C/PBL giving the higher level of importance in each case. This study has revealed some potentially important differences in the perceived level of importance chemistry students place on the development of oral presentation and team-working skills which may be related to the use of C/PBL in the early stages of degree programmes. The study has also shown that the level of importance students assign certain transferable skills (such as Problem Solving Skills) may be independent of exposure to C/PBL.

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New Directions in the Teaching of Physical Sciences

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