The effect of project-based learning (PBL) on improving student learning outcomes in Transportation Engineering

Ellie H. Fini, Mahour Mellat Parast, Sanjiv Sarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This paper discusses the results of an ongoing study on the effect of project-based learning (PBL) 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 to a project-based course, integrating a semester-long project as a stimulus for students' learning. To evaluate and compare students' learning between the lecture-based and project-based teaching approaches, the LITEE survey instrument ( was used. The survey instrument includes five constructs to measure five different aspects of students learning: higherorder cognitive skills, self-efficacy, ease of learning subject matter, teamwork, and communication skills. The survey on pre-assessment and post-assessment of student learning outcomes was conducted to determine the effectiveness of the project-based approach on enhancing students' learning outcomes. The results show 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)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive Skills
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Teamwork

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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