As a result of AAU’s Moldova Erasmus+ project, six Moldovan universities have each launched PBL-based bachelor's programmes in Business Administration, Entrepreneurship and Business Administration, Public Administration, Public Health and Software Engineering.
The background for the project was the fact that Moldova was losing its students to foreign universities, notably Romania. Professor at Department of Business and Management Olav Jull Sørensen is one of the researchers in the project. He describes the situation as follows:
- Something needed to be done in Moldova and PBL became the answer to revitalize the educational system. Many of us at AAU have hosted meetings and seminars for colleagues from other universities on PBL and presented enthusiastically the virtues of this new pedagogy. In almost all cases, the participants have been equally enthusiastic, but back home the good ideas died, unfortunately. This has not been the case with Moldova, Olav Jull Sørensen says.
Six versions of PBL
Six universities in Moldova were involved in the PBLMD project (Introducing Problem Based Learning in Moldova: Toward Enhancing Students’ Competitiveness and Employability) with AAU as the lead university and Romeo Turcan as the lead professor. Five PBL packages have been conducted by teams from the six universities. The new PBL-based study programmes were launched in a preliminary version and the experiences used to define the final 3-years bachelor's programme.
- Like at AAU, we do not have a one size fit all. We have six approaches and six versions of PBL, fitting the specific circumstances of each university. A key measure of PBL is the extent to which you have problem focused and group based projects. Across the plans, they have achieved from a 40-60% ratio between problem/project/group work and supportive teaching. And they even successfully conducted a small interdisciplinary project across the six universities, using the UN Sustainability Goals as the frame, Olav Jull Sørensen explains.
The Erasmus+ project has come to an end, but enthusiastic teams of academics and administrative staff will carry on. Olav Jull Sørensen hopes that AAU can support the Moldovan universities more informally in the future – for AAU to learn more about how to transition from a traditional university to a PBL-based university.
- Together with a colleague from Moldova, I am conducting a small study of how the six universities have included stakeholders and their problems in their programmes. As expected, students have been the most receptive followed by a group of teachers and administrators, and with the Ministry somewhat behind. As an old and experienced PBL-scholar, it has been great to take part - and congratulation to Romeo, who is not brought up at AAU, but has embraced PBL and knows the mindset and structures of his own country, Moldova, Olav Jull Sørensen says.