Problem-Based Learning in Automation Engineering: Performing a Remote Laboratory Session Serving Various Educational Attainments


Anne von Hoegen, Rik W. De Doncker, Michael Bragard, Svenja von Hoegen, 2021 IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), 18 Juni 2021. 



During the Covid-19 pandemic, vocational colleges, universities of applied science and technical universities often had to cancel laboratory sessions requiring students’ attendance. These above of all are of decisive importance in order to give learners an understanding of theory through practical work.This paper is a contribution to the implementation of distance learning for laboratory work applicable for several upper secondary educational facilities. Its aim is to provide a paradigm for hybrid teaching to analyze and control a non-linear system depicted by a tank model. For this reason, we redesign a full series of laboratory sessions on the basis of various challenges. Thus, it is suitable to serve different reference levels of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).We present problem-based learning through online platforms to compensate the lack of a laboratory learning environment. With a task deduced from their future profession, we give students the opportunity to develop own solutions in self-defined time intervals. A requirements specification provides the framework conditions in terms of time and content for students having to deal with the challenges of the project in a self-organized manner with regard to inhomogeneous previous knowledge. If the concept of Complete Action is introduced in classes before, they will automatically apply it while executing the project.The goal is to combine students’ scientific understanding with a procedural knowledge. We suggest a series of remote laboratory sessions that combine a problem formulation from the subject area of Measurement, Control and Automation Technology with a project assignment that is common in industry by providing extracts from a requirements specification.