Problem based learning for SMEs

As part of our research we are examining current practices in the area of problem based learning, informal learning, work based learning and problem solving in companies. Below are some interesting publications in these areas:

A Handbook on Implementing Problem Based Learning in SMEs

The purpose of this handbook is to help SMEs understand Problem Based Learning (PBL) and how it can be used in their companies. The handbook is supported by an ICT platform and learning material which is being developed between September 2015 and January 2016. This handbook can be used as a reference guide for those considering using Problem Based Learning within their company. It is targeted at owners and managers in SMEs. The handbook explains:

  • What is PBL
  • The Benefits of Problem Based Learning(PBL)
  • Implementing PBL - a guide
    • How to prepare your company for PBL
    • Selecting a problem for PBL
    • The PBL process
  • The roles in PBL
  • Suppporting the PBL process
  • The use of ICT in supporting PBL.

The handbook is a product of the Archimedes project which is funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus plus framework. It has been developed as a result of extensive research done in early 2015 with over 300 European SMEs.

  • 340 SMEs were surveyed,
  • 5 focus groups with 66 participants were conducted,
  • 5 case studies were constructed
  • 11 research projects were reviewed
  • Over 70 research papers were reviewed
This research allowed us to identify best practices in the areas of Informal Learning, Problem Based Learning and ICT Based Learning. As a result this handbook was developed to outline a Problem Based Learning approach to help meet the training needs of SMEs throughout Europe while leveraging best practice in the field.

Handbook on the implementation of Problem Based learning in SMEs - English handbook
Handbook on the implementation of Problem Based learning in SMEs - Romanian handbook
Handbook on the implementation of Problem Based learning in SMEs - German handbook
Handbook on the implementation of Problem Based learning in SMEs - Lithuanian handbook
Handbook on the implementation of Problem Based learning in SMEs - Portuguese handbook

A report on how problem based learning and ICT can support SMEs in Europe

The Archimedes project is a Erasmus plus project aimed at investigating the use of problem based learning (PBL) in SMEs. It realises that SMEs require an immediate impact from learning with minimum time spent away from the workplace. Traditionally learning in SMEs has been weighted more favourably towards informal approaches. Archimedes is examining how to levearge off of these informal learning approaches using PBL to provide SMEs with a learning approach that produces a significant impact for small businesses.

The purpose of Intellectual Outputs 1- 3 is to develop a report outlining the approaches to and the problems faced by SMEs in their learning practices, specifically concerning Informal Learning, Problem Based Learning(PBL) and ICT in learning.  It will detail these practices in SMEs throughout Europe.

This activity will be used to obtain an understanding of Informal Learning (including mentoring), Problem Based Learning(PBL) and ICT in learning in SMEs and how it is used.  It will provide an in depth examination of these practices in partner countries through surveys, focus groups and case studies.

The research was conducted between February and May 2015.

European report on SMEs - German
European report on SMEs - Lithuania
European report on SMEs - Romania
European report on SMEs - Portugese

Problem based learning.

Barrett, T., Cashman, D. (Eds) (2010) A Practitioners’ Guide to Enquiry and
Problem-based Learning. Dublin: UCD Teaching and Learning

Informal learning

Hardacre, Schneider (2007) Work based learning report
This report summarises the research on  current work based learning and practice, possible benefits, models in use, relevance of models to education and any gaps in practice

Dale, M, Bell, J 1999, Informal learning in the workplace, Research report no. 134
This report explores informal learning in the workplace and investigates how it can contribute to the success of companies, especially small and medium sized companies, and how it can enhance the employability of employees