Benefits and challenges regarding IBL

IBL starts with a problem, rather than presenting established facts or portraying a smooth path to knowledge. The students direct their own learning within the parameters set by the teacher (who takes the role of a facilitator / resource for the students).

Education is what remains when everything one has learned is forgotten

Some benefits of IBL:

  • IBL imparts soft skills: Students will identify their own areas of inquiry and engage in hands-on learning using science process skills to seek information. The approach increases ownership of learning and enhances critical thinking skills.
  • IBL imparts relevant knowledge: Facts change, and the information is readily available  – what’s needed is an understanding of how to get and make sense of the mass of data. 
  • IBL creates a culture that values learners’ ideas: IBL is not so much seeking the right answer – because often there is none – but rather seeking appropriate resolutions to questions and issues.

Digital training environments allow teachers to leverage this approach ideally and to implement the claim for sustainable skills for the labour market depicted in the D-VET mission statement 2030 issued by the Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation.

Some challenges regarding IBL:

  • IBL is a more authentic replication of real-world scenario and can thus be messy. The endless wandering and seeking for answers might be confusing.
  • IBL must be blended in with other teaching methods, because it has limitations in practice and might produce inadequate education.
  • The teacher has to step back and accept that outcomes are less predictable than with conventional teaching methods.
  • The individual learning experience depends on the individual ability to investigate autonomously. Learners can get frustrated if they are not quite able to apply a problem solving strategy

Considering these challenges, we specifically plan to analyze the apprentices’ interaction logs using data mining methods to better understand individual learning behavior in digital IBL environments. This could eventually promote personalized learning experiences and help more apprentices to attain the intended learning outcomes. This is crucial in order to provide learning experiences that are not only fun but also pedagogically meaningful.

Furthermore, we intend to provide teachers and educational experts with the relevant information that will enable them to individually adapt the training to the proven needs of the learners.