The Economics Network

Improving economics teaching and learning for over 20 years

Developing critical reasoning skills as a foundation for the first year core curriculum

An Economics Network funded project 2004-5

This project aims to develop a framework for integrating problem-based learning (PBL) with other more conventional approaches to teaching and learning in a structured and coherent way. The approach taken is founded on seeing the development of critical thinking skills as central to the curriculum, with regard to both student motivation and pedagogic effectiveness. The proposed framework is an iterative one, in which each module begins with a case or exercise based on PBL providing an entry into the subject. Such exercises generate questions which cannot be solved within the confines of the exercise, and these in turn become the basis for more content-based teaching in the next stage of the course. This teaching lays the basis for more complex PBL exercises, which in turn generate further questions and motivate the acquisition of deeper knowledge content.

Institutions: Oxford Brookes University, London Metropolitan University
Project leader: Judith Piggott, Oxford Brookes University

Output: "Our Experience with Problem-Based Learning" (conference paper)
Output: Sample PBL Exercise in Macroeconomics

Continued in 2005-6 as "Embedding PBL and Critical Skill Development in the Curriculum"

Institution: London Metropolitan University
Project leaders: Guglielmo Volpe and John Sedgwick

This is a continuation of the project from last year. The project has three main objectives:

  1. develop PBL within the Industrial Economics and Economic Growth and Economic Fluctuations modules at London Metropolitan University;
  2. create a 'PBL template' that can be easily implemented in other modules and disseminate such a template among colleagues in the department and possibly colleagues in other institutions;
  3. design problems that help the development of higher order skills of synthesis and evaluation.

Output: Final Report (.doc format)

Continued in 2006-7 as "PBL at Londonmet: (1) Why do students prefer 'chalk and talk'? and (2) assessing PBL with a control group"

Project leader: Guglielmo Volpe, John Sedgwick

This project is based on the previous experience of the team in using PBL in teaching Economics at London Metropolitan University. It will investigate the effectiveness of PBL as a pedagogical approach by (1) analysing some interesting results that emerged from last year's experience and by (2) taking advantage of some changes in the undergraduate curriculum to carry out a 'control group' evaluation.

Output: Powerpoint slides from DEE 2007 conference presentation

Output: Final Report (.doc format)