The effects of problem-based learning on pre-service teachers' achievement, approaches and attitudes towards learning physics

Selcuk G. S.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE PHYSICAL SCIENCES, vol.5, no.6, pp.711-723, 2010 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 5 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.711-723
  • Keywords: Problem-based learning, physics education, achievement, attitude, approaches to learning, STUDENTS, CURRICULA
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: No


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of the Problem Based Learning (PBL) method on students' achievement in and approaches and attitudes towards an introductory physics course. With the control group, a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design was used. A total of 25 freshman students majoring in mathematics teaching in a five-year pre-service teacher education program in Turkey participated. There were one control group and one experimental group; namely, the PBL group. Pre-service teachers were randomly assigned to either one of the two groups: The PBL group (n = 12), who received physics instruction in accordance with the PBL format, or a control group (n = 13), who received physics instruction in line with traditional teaching methods. Data were collected via the pre and post administration of the Magnetism Test (MT), the Approaches to Learning Scale (ALS), and the Scale of Attitudes towards Physics (SAP). The results indicated that the problem-based learning method not only encouraged the students' deep approach to learning, but also improved interest (a component of attitude) towards the physics course. The results also signaled that PBL-based physics instruction impacted the students' achievement in physics positively. The paper ends with some implications for the instruction of physics.