Using a Design-orientated Project to Attain Graduate Attributes

Richie Moalosi, Shorn Molokwane, Gabriel Mothibedi
2012, Vol. 17, No. 1,

Abstract


Nowadays universities are required not only to impart
knowledge of specific disciplines but also generic graduate
attributes such as communication, problem-solving,
teamwork, creative thinking, research and inquiry skills. For
students to attain these generic skills, educators are
encouraged to use learner-centred approaches in teaching.
Project-based learning is one such an approach which
promotes self-directed and lifelong learning capabilities,
equips students with transferrable knowledge and skills
that are essential to the work environment, intertwines
theory and practice, gives students the opportunity to gain
a deep understanding of concepts and potentially allows
them to solve the society’s problems. A case study was
conducted at the University of Botswana with Design
students to assess the attainment of the graduate attributes
after designing packages for a small entrepreneur
producing frozen vegetables. The results indicate that the
following graduate skills were either rated very good or
excellent: self-directed, lifelong learning, critical and creative
thinking, problem-solving, organisational and teamwork,
communication, entrepreneurship, information and
communication technology knowledge and skills. This
shows that project-based learning can impart the skills and
knowledge that the labour market needs. The results also
provide an opportunity for educators to critically reflect on
the type of projects given to students in relation to the
attainment of graduate attributes.

Keywords


attainment, design, graduate attributes, project-based learning, University of Botswana

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