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Project based learning promotes the effective learning of biotechnology courses

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Document pages: 9 pages

Abstract: With the decrease of enrollment in the fields of science, technology, engineering and Mathematics (stem), teachers are faced with the problem of attracting a new generation of students without sacrificing the quality of education. There is evidence that using some teaching strategies can reduce this problem, and project-based learning (PBL) is one of them. PBL solves the basic challenges of improving students learning motivation, mastering course materials and applying what they have learned in various situations. This study demonstrates the benefits of redesigning standard laboratory based molecular biology courses to create a more effective learning environment. Students enrolled in bio-251 at Harold Washington College in Chicago using PBL given the responsibility of cloning a bacterial gene from one species into a new host species. They were then tasked with the expression and purification of the resulting protein for future research purposes at University of Illinois-Chicago, a leading 4-year research institute. With use of the PBL method, students showed improvement in the areas of self-confidence, lab technical skills, and interest in STEM-related fields and, most of all, the students showed a high level of performance and satisfaction.

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