|Ph.D Student||Sabag Nissim|
|Subject||Characteristics of Projects Based Learning in|
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisors||Professor Shlomo Waks|
|Professor Gedalyahu Manor|
An attempt to integrate project-based learning (PBL) into the curriculum is brought in this article, aiming at increasing the students' interest in studying electronics. It is assumed that by involving the student in project learning in an engineering course, the student will manifest an improvement in learning achievements and in attitudes towards the learned discipline. An opportunity to reflect on the students' learning is also expected, in the neighborhood of project activity, especially during design activity and troubleshooting electronic circuits.
During three-year four-stage research students of different populations were involved in project learning. 87 students learning electronics in 10th grade in four schools participated in stage “A” (first pilot research). The population in stage B (second pilot research) included nine 10th grade students in one school (The small group enable to focus on the individual students’ thinking process). Stage C of the research dealt with 154 12th grade students designing their own projects in 8 schools. Finally they took their matriculation examination. The population in stage D was all the students studying for their engineering electronics degree according to the curriculum of the Institute for Technological Training - Ministry of Labor, Israel. The research sample included 34-second year students studying in one college for the degree mentioned above.
Both quantitative and qualitative research tools were used in the research. The main findings obtained by qualitative research tools during the different research stages reveal that: Students were in favor of the project activity. They insisted on continuing their work during break time and their days off. Students inquired new issues in order to complete their mission. Teachers initiated new ideas for projects. Teachers realized that the project activity is a promising way of improving learning. Project activity reduces discipline problems. Creativity and a change in the way of thinking were observed. The design and troubleshooting phases turned out to function as” reflection catalysis". A malfunction causes the student to rethink his/ her course of action. Students initiated learning and navigated the discussion with their teachers according to their learning needs with respect to the project progress. Students were not afraid to admit to their mistakes or ignorance.
Quantitative research tools used in stage D in order to examine the impact of training (in the field of Digital Electronics) through projects on students' achievements and attitudes, in comparison to the effect of traditional training (through dictated lab experiments). The sample included 34-second year engineering-technology student was randomly divided into two lab groups, who learned the theory (Digital Electronics) together. One group was randomly chosen to work on projects while the other carried out the classical laboratory experiments in the framework of the "Digital Electronics" course. The results revealed that the achievements of the experimental group were higher than those of the control group (during the experiment and after it). These results are statistically significant (p = 0.055).
Both groups answered the same attitudes questionnaire. The attitude grades of the experimental group regarding experimentation were higher than those of the control group. The result is significant (P<0.005).
The main conclusion coming out of this study is that PBL is the more favorable experimentation method, as compared to lab experimentation.