Master of Problem Based Learning in Engineering and Science (MPBL)



Teaching Format

The MPBL programme is based on a combination of academic, problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and learning. Teaching formats include but may not be limited to the following methods:

  • On-line lectures
  • Web mediated project work
  • On-line workshops
  • Self-study and readings
  • Web mediated exercises (individually and in groups)
  • Facilitation feedback
  • Self- and group reflection
  • Individual portfolio work

The MPBL programme is an international, fully on-line programme; thus, in this programme advanced teaching and learning tools, including E-learning and video conferencing tools will be used intensively.

MPBL Study Form

The MPBL programme is a problem based learning programme, exemplary for its own contents and delivered as on-line distance education. A semester in the MPBL programme includes a problem based project and two courses, the main study activity being the project. The figure at the top of the page depicts the project as a boundary object for all other learning activities. In the project theory meets practice. The project is at the core in the MPBL programme.

Learning activities supporting the project are: Facilitation; readings; discussions; peer learning; reflections; courses etc.


The main aim of the MPBL courses is to support the project work. Each course in the MPBL programme has a room on the MPBL platform, with a space for each course session and a discussion forum for each session. Courses are individually assessed but study-groups are arranged for peer learning and discussions.


In a PBL curriculum the point of departure for the project is an ill-structured real-life problem, preferably taken from the participants’ own teaching practice or experience. Project proposals have to be within the frame of the learning outcomes specified for the semester project and have to be approved by a member of the academic staff. Participants are encouraged to work in project groups to the extent possible. In semester 1 where the project takes the form of writing an individual teaching portfolio study groups will be organised. Each project group will have a facilitator who is an academic staff member from UCPBL. Facilitation may take place as synchronous on-line facilitation or as asynchronous facilitation by e-mail.

The outcome of any project work is a written project report and a process analysis. This documentation forms the basis of an oral assessment of the participants’ performance with the aim of showing that participants have achieved the learning outcomes of the project.

The project is at the core in the MPBL programme.

On-line environment

The MPBL program is a fully online program; therefore as a participant you need to have access to the necessary hardware and software. The MPBL learning platform is based on Moodle, a widely used open source Learning Management System supporting social constructivist learning.

The on-line environment gives you advantages, such as studying where and when you please and getting access to a huge repository of resources via the Internet. You should, however also be aware of the disadvantages, the main one being the lack of physical presence of and face-to-face communication with co-participants and lecturers. You can read more about how to overcome these disadvantages in the Study Guide, section 6: On-line communication.

Further information about the MPBL study form can be found in the Curriculum and the Study Guide.