Event Details

SNaP!ing PBL: design narratives and patterns of problem / project based learning
A Workshop at EC-TEL 2013
17 Sept. 2013
Organisers: Yishay Mor, Thomas Ryberg, Brenda Bannan-Ritland, Susan McKenney

Target group: This interactive tutorial is aimed at researchers and practitioners who have an interest in Problem and Project Based learning and/or are interested in notions of pedagogical patterns, as a way to share and inform learning and teaching practices, and interested in workshop methodologies for creating and sharing pedagogical patterns.

Description and background: Problem and project based learning approaches are increasingly being adopted across the European and international learning landscape. This reflects a broader trend towards embracing more active, collaborative and student-centred learning approaches. Of particular interest within a TEL research context is questions of how we can support and further develop problem- and project based learning approaches through the use of technology. However, while problem- and project based learning are well-known concepts, it is also clear from practice that the labels cover much more varied and differing interpretations and orchestrations of learning activities. Implementations of problem- and project based learning scale from institutional adoptions of a PBL model as a foundational pedagogy for a university or school to small-scale implementation of problem based learning as part of single classroom exercises.

This heterogeneous landscape testifies to the versatility and adaptability of problem- and project based learning and reflects a varied and interesting plethora of practices (Ryberg et al., 2010, Tambouris et al., 2012). However, it is also clear that intentions of supporting problem- and project based learning through the use of technology becomes difficult. While a particular system or set of tools might fit well with one particular implementation of problem- and project based learning, it might fall short of supporting other types of problem and project based learning.

The aim of this workshop, which follows a methodology called SNaP (Scenario, Narratives and Patterns), is to extract a number of more abstract and generic “pedagogical patterns” for problem- and project based technology enhanced learning that can help practitioners, researchers and developers in designing learning strategies and technologies for various adoptions of problem- and project based learning.

Design and pedagogical patterns are abstractions of expert knowledge; they generalise from successful practice without detaching from its context. As such, they offer a two-way bridge between practice and theory: opening practical wisdom to theoretical scrutiny and allowing theory to be projected into practice.

Design patterns, or more specifically, pedagogical patterns “are designed to capture best practice in a specific domain. Pedagogical patterns try to capture expert knowledge of the practice of teaching and learning. The intent is to capture the essence of the practice in a compact form that can be easily communicated to those who need the knowledge”

Following the SNaP methodology workshop participants will be asked to contribute design narratives of their problem- and project based learning practices. During the workshop, we will work in groups to extract design patterns from these narratives, and substantiate the patterns by reference to theoretical frameworks. Finally, the derived patterns will be projected into novel situations in the form of design scenarios.

The resulting collection of narratives, patterns and scenarios will be further processed by participants after the workshop to bring it to publishable form. Together, offering an anthology of expert design knowledge which will inform future design of technology enhanced learning tools and systems better capable of supporting central or generic aspects of various problem and project learning models. Furthermore, the narratives, patterns and scenarios can contribute to raising awareness about the multiplicity of practices living under the broader concept of problem- and project based learning, and help practitioners and researchers in exploring new or (for them) unknown implementations of problem- and project based technology enhanced learning.

Call for contributions

Tentative Timetable

09:00-09:45: Keynote on PBL
09:45-10:30: introduction to the SNaP! methodology
10:30-11:00: coffee
11:00-12:00: sharing design narratives in groups ("three hats" exercise)
12:00-12:30: report back from groups
12:30-13:00: lunch
13:00-14:00: extracting patterns from design narratives (in groups)
14:00-14:30: report back from groups
14:30-15:30: elaborating, substantiating and refining the patterns
15:30-16:00: report back from groups
16:00-17:00: concluding discussion and what next?


Mor, Yishay (2013). SNaP! Re-using, sharing and communicating designs and design knowledge using scenarios, narratives and patterns. In: Luckin, Rosemary; Puntambekar, Sadhana; Goodyear, Peter; Grabowski, Barbara L.; Underwood, Joshua and Winters, Niall eds. Handbook of Design in Educational Technology. London, UK: Routledge http://oro.open.ac.uk/33861/

Mor, Yishay; Warburton, Steven and Winters, Niall (2012). Participatory pattern workshops: a methodology for open learning design inquiry. Research in Learning Technology, 20 http://oro.open.ac.uk/33909/

Mor, Yishay (2011). Design narratives: an intuitive scientific form for capturing design knowledge in education. In: Sixth Chais Conference on Instructional Technologies Research: Learning in the Technological Era, 17 Feb 2011, Raanana, Israel. http://oro.open.ac.uk/30299/

Ryberg, T., Glud, L. N., Buus, L., & Georgsen, M. (2010). Identifying Differences in Understandings of PBL, Theory and Interactional Interdependencies. In L. Dirckinck-Holmfeld, V. Hodgson, C. Jones, M. de Laat, & T. Ryberg (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Networked Learning (pp. 943–951). Retrieved from http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/organisations/netlc/past/nlc2010/abstracts/PDFs/Ryberg_2.pdf

Tambouris, E., Panopoulou, E., Tarabanis, K., Ryberg, T., Buus, L., Peristeras, V., Lee, D., Porwol, L. (2012). Enabling Problem Based Learning through Web 2.0 Technologies: PBL 2.0. Educational Technology & Society, 15(4), 238–251.