Table of Contents
ISRN Education
Volume 2012, Article ID 759241, 6 pages
Research Article

The Impact of Instructional Methods on Critical Thinking: A Comparison of Problem-Based Learning and Conventional Approach in Engineering Education

Faculty of Technical and Vocational Education, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Johor 86400, Malaysia

Received 15 December 2011; Accepted 9 February 2012

Academic Editor: A. Desoete

Copyright © 2012 Alias Masek and Sulaiman Yamin. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Recent research reveals a gap in determining the effect of problem-based learning (PBL) on students’ critical thinking ability. Existing evidences from previous research have been equivocal to be deemed conclusive, especially in across multiple educational disciplines. This paper investigates the effect of PBL on students’ critical thinking ability, as compared to conventional approach. The study employed an experimental pretest and posttest with control group design. The participants were 53 undergraduate students in electrical engineering course, who attended Electrical Technology Module (ET101) in their first semester. Participants completed the pretest and posttests of the translated version of the Cornell Critical Thinking Test Specimen set. The results suggested that students’ critical thinking ability in the PBL group had not been significantly different from their counterparts in the conventional approach group. This paper further discusses the implication of problem-based learning in engineering education.