Engaging MBA Students in Problem-Based Learning to Foster Self-Directed Learning
This paper seeks to examine the traditional teaching practices in higher education especially in the field of business. It focuses on academics concerns in relation to the problematic transition issues from university to professional practice at a postgraduate level. It highlights the inability of postgraduate students (especially the Masters of Business students) to problem solve in the ‘real business world’ situation and their limited exposure to self directed learning within the context of professional practice. Students tend to view an MBA education as simply a "rite of passage," a necessary credential and an imposed set of hurdles with little significance to the real business world. Their education is often reduced to acquiring a degree (merely another commodity to be purchased in the marketplace), and the final grade becomes the overriding concern (rather than learning). The intent of the author is to provide a student centered, self-directed learning environment for the students with an emphasis on 1) practical problem based learning tools linking to business cases (Business environment analysis tools) and 2) creative formal assessments to evaluate the students' problem-solving skills and self-directed learning skills. Problem-based learning therefore requires that students are active learners, responsible for their own learning and in due course develop self-directed learning.
Keywords: Problem-Based Learning, Self-Directed Learning, Student-Centered Learning, Business Environment Analysis Tools
Dr. Janet Chew
Assistant Head, School of Business, Australian Catholic University