Project-Based Learning as an Instrument for the Formation and Development of Research Skills of Biology Students

Project-Based Learning as an Instrument for the Formation and Development of Research Skills of Biology Students

Ksenia Dmitrievna Dyatlova (Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), Irina Mikchailovna Shvets (Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), Elena Sergeevna Orlova (Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia), Yulia Vitalievna Sinitsyna (Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia) and Irina Valerievna Struchkova (Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod, Russia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3485-3.ch007

Abstract

In response to the demands upon the academic community to improve the quality of university teaching, the authors have been developing project-based methodology in terms of biological science. This Chapter mainly focuses on deriving principles and practice in conducting project courses covering a range of major disciplines. Increased emphasis is placed on a distinguishing feature of the study which implies consistent scientific sophistication of project methodology beginning in the first year of tuition and continuing later in degrees. The general project design proposed interrelates with meeting students' future research activity.
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Background

Project-based learning is a pedagogical technology implying the application of actualized knowledge. Being oriented at self-learning and self-management, it involves learners in the course of educational activity ranging from the formation of an idea and up to its implementation.

A project is a way of phased organization and description of an activity aimed at studying and implementing changes in a natural or social environment within a limited time and with limited means. The application of the project-based method at the contemporary stage of the professional training system development is more and more actively revealing and exposing its potential. In particular, unlike classical methods, project-based learning strengthens students’ motivation and satisfaction and develops skills, which raise a degree of their demand in business (Filho, Shiel, & Paco, 2015). The project-based method implements a whole range of principles that are topical today. Among them the following might be highlighted:

  • Students’ self-sufficiency

  • Students’ collaboration with each other, teachers and employers

  • Consideration of students’ individual qualities

  • Actualizing learners’ subjective position

  • Interconnection between the teaching process and the actual social and natural environment (especially in biological and ecological education)

Project-based learning has an impact on such skills as self-management, teamwork, leadership, time management, communication and problem-solving. Students learn to work together on searching for the solution of a problem (Kubiatko & Vaculová, 2011; Zhylkybay, Magzhan, Suinzhanova, Balaubekov, & Adiyeva, 2014).

Mastering the project-based method in the course of study allows the graduate to get better adapted to actual labor activity as projects are spreading out over the industrial and social spheres nowadays.

Students learning by the project-based method have an opportunity to individualize their learning style and to use their psychological and physiological capacities and peculiarities more fully. An individual approach to project training allows to work more efficiently with ‘non-standard’ students (persons with disabilities and special features of the psyche, etc.). Alongside that, every participant of learning can get an available role in the project and work at a rate which is comfortable for them. An individual project work rate ensures that every learner gets to their level of expertise, which is their challenge.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Project: A way of phased organization and description of an activity aimed at studying and implementing changes in a natural or social environment within a limited time and with limited means.

Research Skills in Biology: Skills that include the ability to work with information, to focus on the problem, to design an experiment and to analyze and present the results.

Skill: An ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results, often within a given amount of time, energy, or both.

Magneto Biology: A realm of knowledge focusing on exploring biological reactions and mechanisms of predominantly weak magnet field influence (< 1 mT) on all levels of living things.

Project-Based Learning: An educational enterprise in which learners solve a practical problem over a limited period, with available resources used; the project method is realized by typical stages: goal setting, task undertaking, work on the project, result presentation and reflection.

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