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Project-Based Learning
Implementation
at Technology College Sarawak
 
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KUCHING - A good college degree has always been considered the key to finding a good job. However, with the declining quality of students graduating from colleges and universities, many are struggling to find good jobs because they are unable to transition into the labor market. This is not due to the lack of trying, but because higher learning institutions are more focused on producing graduates who are academically brilliant, but not appropriately equipped to handle the practicality of a workplace. Studies conducted by Gallup revealed that employees who are more likely to be engaged at the workplace are those with vast experiences acquired in college, such as supportive relationship with lecturers and mentors, as well as deep learning and experiential opportunities that include long-term projects that mimic real work environments.Therefore, colleges and universities must offer more courses that provide them with the corporate skills and other experience necessary in the jobs market.

As an education provider, Technology College Sarawak (TCS) has produced over two thousand talented and diverse graduates from all over East Malaysia, with a consistent employment rate of more than 96% annually. However, times are now changing, students have become more technologically advanced, and the demands of employers have also increased. There is only so much theoretical learning students can do in a traditional classroom before they are required to apply problem-solving and critical-thinking skills independently at the workplace, and TCS aims to meet these demands by employing a slightly unorthodox, but not so new, instructional method known as Problem-based Learning.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching pedagogy that emphasises on the importance of practical experience in learning. Students learn through problem-solving activities and reflect on the gained experiences. Compared to the traditional teacher-centered approaches, PBL allows the students to be active learners because it places them in the middle of real-world problems and does not focus on one defined solution. Instead, it allows the acquisition of desirable skills and attributes that include knowledge acquisition, enhanced group collaboration, as well as communication skills. All in all, the main idea of this project is to develop the practical skills needed by a student for future practice and subsequently produce graduates who are both independent and ambitious.

TCS kick-started its pioneer PBL project on 28th November 2016 with its new intake of 12 Foundation in Business students. The month-long course was led by Dr Hj Muhammad Pedro Barbeito, a visiting academic adviser to TCS, and assisted by the TCS PBL team members who consisted of several lecturers from the Academic team. With the success of PBL, TCS is currently in the process of incorporating the pedagogy into its upcoming semesters of Diploma and Degree programmes.

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