Potential and challenges of project-based learning in engineering education at the United Arab Emirates University

Rezaul K. Chowdhury

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Learning styles of most engineering students and teaching styles of most engineering instructors are incompatible in several dimensions. Many or most engineering students are visual, sensing, inductive, and active, whereas engineering education is mostly verbal (auditory), abstract (intuitive), deductive, passive, and sequential. These mismatches lead to poor pupil performance, professorial frustration and a barrier to producing many potentially excellent engineers. The modern method of engineering education involves contemporary teaching and learning practices using project- and program-based learning, work-integrated learning and integrative learning approaches. The project-based learning (PBL) is acknowledged as a collaborative, progressive, student-centered, interactive, active, and deep-learning approach. The chapter describes the learning styles of engineering students, teaching approaches of engineering instructors, role of smart technologies, and their applications for the implementation of PBL in engineering education at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU). Students and instructors were surveyed to understand their learning and instruction manners. Most engineering students at UAEU are observed to be active, visual, sensory, and sequential, whereas surveyed engineering instructors exhibited their strong preference for the expert and delegator style of instruction. Instructors also exhibited their preference for a facilitator style of teaching. Previous studies discovered that the PBL approach prefers the facilitator style of education rather than expert or delegator styles. It was observed that both students and instructors at UAEU are aware of, have adequate institutional supports, and are using advanced technologies in their learning and teaching. Thus, in spite of some manageable constraints, there is potential for implementing PBL in engineering instruction at the UAEU.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Engineering Education in the Middle East and North Africa
Subtitle of host publicationCurrent Status, and Future Insights
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783319153230
ISBN (Print)9783319153223
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Engineering students
  • Learning styles
  • Project-based learning
  • Teaching styles
  • United Arab Emirates University

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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