Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in Undergraduate Education: Design Thinking to Redesign Courses

Shakuntala Acharya*, Apoorv Naresh Bhatt, Amaresh Chakrabarti, Venkata S.K. Delhi, Jan Carel Diehl, Ellen van Andel, Andrius Jurelionis, Laura Stasiuliene, Luis De Jussilainen Costa, Riina Subra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Problem-based learning (PBL) has profound implications on the motivations of the student to learn and is known to help develop critical thinking, complex problem-solving, self-learning, collaboration and communication skills, thereby enabling fresh graduates to be industry-ready. However, most institutes of higher education in South Asia offering undergraduate programmes have instructional and didactic pedagogical systems. The Erasmus + project, ‘Strengthening Problem-based Learning in South Asian Universities’ (PBL South Asia) aims to build capacity of the South Asian partner institutes by collaboratively developing best practices in PBL for undergraduate education, bringing expertise and experience of peers from across Europe and India. Therefore, to gain benefits of the PBL approach, the redesign of existing courses was undertaken and the novel strategy of conducting a Design Thinking workshop to do so, was engaged. During the five-day workshop, faculties from the institutes in Nepal and Bhutan, who are most well aware of the challenges, shortcomings and strengths of their curriculum, were mentored step-by-step, by their Indian and European peers, who have more experience in delivering PBL courses. Backed by the strategy of Design Thinking, the complex problem-solving activity of course design was addressed systematically, and the five institutes proposed redesigned courses which are currently in the process of implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign for Tomorrow
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of ICoRD 2021
EditorsAmaresh Chakrabarti, Ravi Poovaiah, Prasad Bokil, Vivek Kant
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-16-0119-4
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Apr 2021
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Research into Design - Virtual, Online
Duration: 7 Jan 202110 Jan 2021
Conference number: 8

Publication series

NameSmart innovation, systems and technologies
ISSN (Print)2190-3018
ISSN (Electronic)2190-3026


ConferenceInternational Conference on Research into Design
Abbreviated titleICoRD
CityVirtual, Online


  • Design pedagogy
  • Design Thinking
  • Higher education
  • Problem-based learning
  • South Asia


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