4 – Inculcating sustainability among first-year engineering students using cooperative problem-based learning

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Abstract

Education for sustainable development (ESD) is a major concern for the 21st century society. In engineering education, the importance of ESD is translated in the Washington Accord by making it a requirement for accreditation of engineering programs. In this chapter, we describe the design and implementation of cooperative problem-based learning (CPBL) in inculcating sustainability among engineering students. CPBL is the infusion of cooperative learning principles into the problem-based learning (PBL) cycle to support students in developing the desired outcomes. Students are given a problem on sustainable development in three stages to gradually challenge them with increasing difficulty, while systematically providing the necessary support to scaffold their learning through the CPBL cycle, as they develop the skills to successfully go through the process and solve the problem. Based on an implementation and study on first-year chemical engineering students, there was a significant increase in sustainability knowledge and behavior among students after undergoing the CPBL learning environment.

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