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Title: Project-based learning and the development of students' professional identity : a case study of an instructional design course with real clients in Romania
Author: Hartescu, Ioana
ISNI:       0000 0004 9357 9532
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2020
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Instructional design (ID) education is increasingly moving from a modelbased to a design-based approach, prompting renewed attention on requirements to align students’ and practitioners’ professional identities. Yet there is little current understanding of how traditionally-used pedagogies, such as project-based learning (PjBL), contribute to the necessary identity development of students. This project aims to identify connections between students’ development of professional identity and elements of PjBL, based on a two-year case study of an ID graduate course in Romania. Data was generated via observations, focus groups, written reflections and questionnaires. First, using established PjBL concepts, such as related cases, cognitive tools and contextual support, I examine how the course design was deployed and received by the students. Second, using Communities of Practice concepts, such as mutuality of engagement and trajectories, I analyse how students developed their professional identity during the course. Third, I integrate the two perspectives to identify connections emerging throughout the stages of the course. The findings suggest that incorporating interactions with clients in student projects benefits students’ development of professional identity, by facilitating a more complex accountability to a joint enterprise which, in turn, lessens the need for contextual support from teachers. Yet students’ existing repertoire of problem-solving, reflection and teamworking skills influences how they use and benefit from elements of PjBL, such as related cases and cognitive and collaboration tools. Additionally, those student teams engaging in joint effort, as opposed to dividing labour, make richer use of the cognitive tools provided, leading to a more inbound trajectory into ID identity. The analysis has implications for the effectiveness of PjBL courses, as well as for interventions designed to develop students’ professional identity. Moreover, the theoretical analysis widens current perspectives about the dilemmas and difficulties experienced by students trying to make the transition into professional life.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral