Table of Contents
ISRN Education
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 982942, 9 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/982942
Research Article

Student Perceptions of Problem-Based Learning: A Case Study of Undergraduate Applied Agrometeorology

1Department of Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences, University of the Free State, Agriculture Bldg, 2nd Floor, Office 1.230, Bloemfontein 9301, South Africa
2Crops for the Future Research Centre (CFFRC) Level 2 Block B, The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus Jalan Broga, 43500 Semenyih, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Received 27 February 2013; Accepted 25 March 2013

Academic Editors: S. P. Heyneman, V. Kann, and S. Lunsford

Copyright © 2013 Linda De Wet and Sue Walker. 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.

Abstract

Many students do not seem to transfer their learning during formal education into applications in the real world. The objective of this ongoing study was to investigate the opinion of third-year students concerning their program through problem-based learning and to improve the module where necessary. Students attending theory classes had to apply their newly gained knowledge coupled with real-life weather data to solve a problem during practicums. Students attending practicums were given the same questionnaire thrice; thus, the answers were based on different sets of exercises. Responses by attendees for the three questionnaires were 73%, 100%, and 61%, respectively. Students preferred problem-based practicums (78%, 54%, and 72%, resp.) to other non-problem-based practicums. Most students thought that their knowledge had improved and it had prepared them better for the workplace (85%, 77%, and 92%, resp.). Generally students preferred working in groups (74%, 62%, and 56%, resp.), in contrast to those preferring to work individually. Students benefited from problem-based learning in that they thought they had improved their knowledge, skills, and critical thinking abilities and felt that they had learnt things that they could carry into their future lives out in the world at large and the workplace.