Using Peer-assisted Problem-based Learning to Develop Business Systems Analysis Skills: An Experience Report


This paper reports on the experiences of using peer-assisted problem-based learning (PAPBL) learning in a large class of postgraduate students (n=225) for an assignment spanning two complementary modules (Database Technologies and Systems Analysis). Students worked in teams of three. They were provided with a business case study and required to generate data flow diagrams, UML diagrams, a fully normalised entity-relationship model, and SQL code to build the database. All teams were required to provide peer feedback on the draft solutions of two other teams, and in their final submission to explain how (or why not) they modified their work in response to peer suggestions. Each individual student was also required to write a reflection piece about their experience of working in a team and of receiving peer feedback. Additionally, they were asked to complete a survey seeking opinions on how PAPBL helped them to develop study skills, build confidence, make learning more enjoyable, clarify understanding of fundamental and complex concepts, consider and value the perspectives of others, and gain practical skills. Student feedback on the effectiveness of the lecturer in guiding the process was also sought. Qualitative and quantitative findings based on analysis of students’ experiences are presented, further backed up by the lecturer’s reflections on what did and did not work well in the delivery of this module. It is expected that these practical observations will be of interest and value to other teachers of business systems analysis, database technologies, software engineering and related subject areas.

Author Information
Michael Lang, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2022
Stream: Learning Experiences

This paper is part of the ECE2022 Conference Proceedings (View)
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