Empirical analysis of effect of project-based learning on student learning in transportation engineering

Ellie Fini, Mahour Mellat-Parast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The paper discusses results of an ongoing study of the effect of project-based learning on students' learning outcomes in transportation engineering, a required junior-level course in the civil engineering curriculum. The course was taught in 2008, 2009, and 2010 by the same instructor. The course was transformed from a lecture-based course into a project-based course, integrating a semester-long project as a stimulus for students' learning. To evaluate and compare the effects of lecture-based and project-based teaching approaches on students' learning, a survey instrument from the Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education was used. The survey instrument included five constructs for measuring five different aspects of students' learning: higher-order cognitive skills, self-efficacy, ease of learning subject matter, teamwork, and communication skills. The survey of preassessment and postassessment student learning outcomes was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the project-based approach in enhancing students' learning outcomes. The results showed that the use of the project-based approach significantly improved students' ease of learning the subject matter. Project-based learning could be used as an effective teaching and learning strategy by educators to facilitate students' learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-172
Number of pages6
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number2285
StatePublished - Jan 12 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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