PBL skills for academic faculty across Sub-Saharan Africa
Häme University of Applied Sciences organised a training for African academic faculty, in cooperation with the RUFORUM network. The training focused on preparing teachers to appreciate and adopt PBL based methodology in their teaching and learning processes.
Dr. Eija Laitinen and senior lecturer Ulla-Maija Knuutti from HAMK held a virtual PBL training session for bioeconomy university academic faculty from Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. The topic was on competence-based curricula and student-centred learning and teaching. Instead of concentrating on the knowledge that will be passed on to the students, teachers and university authorities should focus on the competences that the students will have upon graduation.
“Competence is not just about knowledge and skills. It is about being able to use the knowledge and skills”, Knuutti states.
In a competence-based curriculum, the methods of learning and teaching should also be described along with the aspired results. People learn best when they can apply new knowledge in real-life contexts. In solving a real problem in a real company, students need to figure out what they already know about the subject and what is the information and the abilities they yet need to gain for solving the problem.
“There is a huge difference in learning in a classroom or on the field. According to research, students that learn in real-life challenges alongside with the theoretical teaching graduate faster and with higher scores”, says Dr. Laitinen, the project manager of large projects for reforming the bioeconomy education in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The training was coordinated by Dr. Anthony Egeru, RUFORUM secretariat and a key partner in the project PBL-BioAfrica.
“This partnership with HAMK helps to make the transformation in agricultural education a reality in the near-term”, he says.