Evaluation of a new short-project based learning (PBL) method in an engineering 1st year programm


  • Junior Nomani
  • Guy Littlefair




CAVE, Short Project-based learning, Virtual reality


A new novel approach towards Project Based Learning (PBL) was developed for design project-based learning activities. PBL activities traditionally span in duration from a few weeks to one year. The shortened PBL project was created for a half-day practical and ran in a 1st year undergraduate engineering unit. The project involved sustainable re-design of disaster- aid relief items. The project also involved students utilising interactive 3D virtual visualisation technology known as the CAVE environment as a design development tool. This paper assesses the effectiveness of the developed short project-based learning project (SPBL) at improving student engagement. Students survey responses indicated student engagement was high from participating in the short PBL activity, realism in the project played an important role. Short PBL projects can become a positive tool in teaching and learning through the maintaining of student and cognitive engagement throughout the entire duration of the project.


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Author Biographies

Junior Nomani

Is a Senior Lecturer at AUT University and has been teaching in Mechanical engineering for over 13 years in New Zealand, Australia and China universities. His teaching background covers a broad range from communication to engineering design to his main research focus of manufacturing and material science.

Guy Littlefair

Is an executive university leader with over 20 years’ focused experience in devising and implementing strategies, objectives and policies to navigate change and effectively develop and manage the academic and research profiles, as well as the financial and Human Resources, within large and complex Faculties and Divisions. Guy has an exceptional 30+ year record in industry, research and academia.


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How to Cite

Nomani, J., & Littlefair, G. (2021). Evaluation of a new short-project based learning (PBL) method in an engineering 1st year programm. DAT Journal, 6(2), 453–463. https://doi.org/10.29147/dat.v6i2.416