A Framework for Self-Regulated Project-Based Learning in Higher Education

A Framework for Self-Regulated Project-Based Learning in Higher Education

Mohamed Yassine Zarouk (University of Porto, Portugal & Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Morocco), Francisco Restivo (University of Porto, Portugal) and Mohamed Khaldi (Abdelmalek Essaadi University, Morocco)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-6261-0.ch010


The 21st century requires the acquisition of new skills to keep pace with the drastic and continuous changing technology in our lives. Hence, this transforming causes a gap between the skills people learn and the skills people need. Consequently, today's labor force hiring candidates must be able to collaborate, communicate, and solve problems. For this propose, this chapter presents a framework for the self-regulation of project-based learning suitable for a student-centered learning environments in higher education. The framework is defined by a set of general requirements, based on a theoretical model, whereby strategies, practices, principles, tools, and actors are defined for conducting the project's processes, and it is instrumental according to a series of cyclical and reciprocal activities as well as a functional architecture. The integrated framework guides and helps learners to effectively benefit from the emergence of some educational digital tools and strategies such as gamification, portfolio, learning analytics, and digital mind mapping.
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“The illiterate of the twenty-first century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn” (Toffler, 1984). Because, technology is drastically transforming learning and teaching paradigm, as projects and inquiry-based digital information resources, and innovative tools are made available to students, schools, and educators (Chu, Reynolds, Tavares, Notari, & Lee, 2017a). Meanwhile, the gap between the skills people learn and the skills people need is becoming more obvious, as traditional learning approaches fall short of equipping students with specific toolbox they need to thrive. Consequently, today's labour force hiring candidates for a job, which must be able to collaborate, communicate, solve problems and manage projects… (Soffel, 2016). Then it is expedient that everybody needs and have to be prepared for and convinced of the need to be lifelong students to keep pace with this changing (Medel-Añonuevo, Ohsako, & Mauch, 2001). Those skills could be developed mainly by fostering social and emotional learning through technology (Chu, Reynolds, Tavares, Notari, & Lee, 2017c).

At the same time, education systems have not evolved in infrastructure, actual curricular material, or pedagogical methods that will maximally prepare students for their current and future world (Chu, Reynolds, Tavares, Notari, & Lee, 2017a). Many schools have inevitably become soulless factories of demotivation, boring, and frustration for their students, who may never have the opportunity to realize the most valuable asset of humanity: a pleasure for learning, facilitated by pursuit of one’s curiosity through collaboration, inquiry, critical thinking and challenging problem-solving (Chu, Reynolds, Tavares, Notari, & Lee, 2017a). In other words, as he described Socrates, ‘’Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”.

The authors believe that it is inevitable to go beyond traditional content learning to include a meta layer of education, in which students practice reflection, learn about their learning, learn how to adapt their learning and behaviour based on their goals, and acquire cross-cutting skills that span across disciplines (Chu, Reynolds, Tavares, Notari, & Lee, 2017a; Griffin & Care, 2014).

Fortunately, the selected twenty-first-century skills could be taught and learned (Binkley et al., 2012). It is reasoned that could be conflated into a single complex set of tasks or skills under the umbrella of “Project-Based Learning” (Griffin & Care, 2014). Studies (Chu, Reynolds, Tavares, Notari, & Lee, 2017a) have witnessed that project-based pedagogy interventions develop the learning pleasure. Learning projects, or project-based learning as it has often been called, is a powerful learning/teaching approach that offers a wealth of opportunities to build all of these essential 21st century skills, as well as the deeper knowledge and expertise needed for lifelong and work career in our times. In this sense, social constructivist concepts are considered central to the implementation of project-based learning (PBL) and expected to contribute immensely to twenty-first-century skills development (Chu, Reynolds, Tavares, Notari, & Lee, 2017b). In particular, Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) has become one of the most suitable learning approaches for the development of the lifelong students competent and autonomous as well as self-regulated learners or metaphorically, meta learners (Manso-Vázquez, Caeiro-Rodríguez, & Llamas-Nistal, 2016).

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