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This paper describes the introduction, implementation and evaluation of a Problem Based Learning component in the Geodetic Surveying syllabus of the fourth / final year of the honours degree programme in Geomatics at the Department of Spatial Information Sciences, Technological University of Dublin,Ireland. The reasons behind adopting this constructivist educational approach as opposed to traditional instructivist methods more commonly employed are addressed, together with an evaluation of the process from both the educator (academic) and student (learners) perspective. The results of this case study are considered in the context of a number of interconnected pedagogical issues including (a) enhancement of student learning, (b) effective teaching, learning and assessment methodologies and (c) effective evaluation strategies. It was found that the adoption of PBL as a learning mechanism in Spatial Information Sciences represented a cultural change for both facilitators and learners, resulting in significantly increased time commitments from both parties. However, it was also found that student technacy abilities and reporting skills were greatly enhanced with WebCT used as a communication tool. Furthermore, learners covered a significant breadth of topics in an integrated way while identifying the inter-relationship between classroom material and real-world issues thus helping to equip them with the professional skills required in the modern commercial environment.
Martin, A., McGovern, E., Mooney, K. (2006) The Experience of E-Learning: Progress towards a New Learning Paradigm. ISPRS Technical Commission VI Symposium – E-Learning and the Next Steps for Education. TS 1-3: New Tools for Education. 27th – 30th June Toyko, Japan.