Enhancing the non-technological skills required for effective building information modeling through problem-based learning

Rahimi A. Rahman, Steven K. Ayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Building Information Modeling (BIM) is often associated with the use of new and emerging technologies, but prior research has indicated that non-technological, people- and process-related, issues can hinder the success of BIM even more than the technology itself. Previous work also suggests that analytical and problem-solving, communication, initiative, planning and organizational, and teamwork competencies among construction professionals can help to resolve the most common BIM issues in construction projects. This indicates a new and complementary set of BIM skills that may need to be targeted by educators when preparing students for successful future careers. Previous literature from non-BIM domains suggests that problem-based learning can enhance these types of skills, but there is not an understanding of the extent to which this mode of education can benefit BIM-specific applications. This study aims to analyze the impact of implementing a single-session problem-based learning module that targets the previously identified skills in BIM-relevant contexts. It was found that problem-based learning enabled students to generate better outputs related to solving common issues in BIM-based construction projects. Furthermore, students perceived improvements in their analytical and problem-solving, teamwork, and communications skills after completing the activity. This study adds to the body of knowledge by providing educators with empirical evidence to illustrate how problem-based learning can support BIM education. The lessons from this study could help educators target these same learning benefits in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-166
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Information Technology in Construction
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Building Information Modeling (BIM)
  • Problem-based learning
  • S.M.A.R.T. (Specific Measurable, Assignable, Realistic & Time-based)
  • Skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Computer Science Applications


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