Activity analysis in a PBL session

When this project started, CESI had already been using the PBL (Problem-Based Learning) Approach since 2004 as the unique approach in the Computer Sciences curricula of eXia, and decided to experiment this approach to teach Physics.

One case was developed in Thermodynamics, the self-cooling can, which is studied in this project.


Before generalising the PBL approach to all courses in STEMS, CESI Ecole d’Ingénieurs wished to better understand the learning process and the competencies that were developed in PBL sessions.

The activity of the teacher and the activity of two groups of students during a PBL session (5 3-hour sequences) was analysed, using the usual techniques: video-recording of the session, self-confrontation interviews of participants around the most significant sequences, analysis of this material.

Main results

A first set of analysis was made in 2008-2009, and a PhD thesis then allowed to go further. The thesis was defended in 2011.


BLANDIN, B. OUARRAK, B. (2009) Quand l’expérience joue des tours dans un dispositif de formation en alternance, in Actes du 1er colloque international de l’association Recherches et pratiques en didactique professionnelle, Dijon, 2-4 décembre 2009 (communication n°407).

OUARRAK, B. (2011) Microgenèse d’un objet technique chez des élèves ingénieurs du CESI, Thèse de doctorat en sciences de l’éducation, Paris : CNAM.

Start of project: April 2007

End of project: July 2011