EDVANCE | Research
Drawing from Maastricht University’s 45 years of expertise in problem-based learning (PBL) and the lessons learnt from the present, digital age, the EDVANCE project set out to investigate good educational practices to inform our future education model in a blended setting and to back our findings by scientific evidence to ensure sustainability.
The 2018 EDview position paper emphasised that, at its very core, PBL is based on the principles of constructive, collaborative, contextual and self-directed learning (CCCS). Over the past two years, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of diverse educational delivery approaches within UM, e.g., online, hybrid, and blended education.
The increasing blended educational opportunities introduced important elements that became crucial to consider, such as educational activities, student engagement and well-being, the teaching staff support structure, and the appropriate use of technology.
What is EDVANCE?
EDVANCE was a one-year research project conducted in 2020-2021, supervised by EDLAB. Two researchers, Dr. H.Q. Chim and Anne van Dijck, collected and synthesised good practices to answer the question “What is the optimal setting for blended or technology-assisted PBL and how do we achieve this setting within the CCCS principles?”
The team collected good practices from the UM community as well as from national and international universities. Backed up with evidence-based literature, this project aimed to recalibrate EDview’s position paper from 2018 to today’s challenges and tomorrow’s changes.
Which methods did we use?
The EDVANCE research project was divided into two parts.
Part 1 – Rapid Review
The research team conducted a rapid review with an in-depth systematic approach of scientific literature to compile evidence-based best practices of blended or technology-assisted PBL. Part 1 provides a theoretical framework based on the CCCS principles to inform the interpretation of good practices, simultaneously collected in Part 2.
Part 2 – Participatory Action Research
Using qualitative methods such as semi-structured interviews and focus groups, the team collected good practices from a selective yet diverse and representative sample. Directors, educators and students from within the UM, as well as our international network, shared valuable input. Data collection was intentionally selective, following a snowball-sampling principle, to provide a focused and informed strategy for education.
The data collection involved:
- Semi-structured interviews with vice-deans of education, educational experts and innovators
- Focus groups with programME directors, course coordinators and student representatives
The EDVANCE report
Besides an overview of good blended educational practices in PBL, the present EDVANCE report provides strategies to support students and educators, focusing on the entire educational process, at course – and curriculum level, including such themes as well-being and community building. Although many of the practices discussed within this report are educational practices and innovations enhanced by technology, non-digital practices are also presented.
What makes EDVANCE unique is the timely and evidence-informed compilation of blended educational practices in relation to Maastricht University’s PBL CCCS learning principles. Learning is Constructive – collecting and generating knowledge together; Contextual – seeing the relevance of what you do; Collaborative – working together and sharing responsibility; and Self-directed – actively participating and taking initiative, online and on campus.
With the findings presented in EDVANCE, we hope to sustainably embed good blended PBL practices in instructional design processes.