Conférence : The 11th European Conference on Education, 12 juillet 2023
Based on research conducted with undergraduated students in French Engineering School, we propose to highlight the conditions under which problem-based learning (PBL) can be favorable to student’s learning based on the method of analysis resulting from the capability approach (Sen, 2001). PBL appears in the literature to be an adapted way to tend to, among other things, keep motivation of the students with collective works and with the use of real life inspired topics. However, the shift between traditional pedagogical techniques and active techniques and especially the proper appropriation of the active learning environment by the students may be a key point to use PBL most effectively. The challenge here is to identify, within a chosen active pedagogical environment the resources, conversion factors and personal choices that contribute to the students’ ability to succeed in solving a problem independently. The analysis of 22 semi-structured interviews put in highlight that 1) students mobilise more formal resources than informal ones, 2) some resources (material and human) appears not to be easily convertible by the students, 3) the importance of proposing a variety of pedagogical activities built from different modalities (collective reflection, autonomy time, tutoring time…) and 4) the personal choices of the students to actually use pedagogical resources are mainly linked to the students’ representations of the benefits of PBL.