CDIO Standards: 3, 5, 7. 21st Century Skills Design Thinking Real-Life Projects Project Based Learning Integrated Multidisciplinary Project
Project Based Learning (PBL) is an innovative pedagogical approach to applied learning that instils critical life skills into students, making them ready to face the challenges of the 21st century. Integrating multidisciplinary and team-based instruction into the PBL makes the approach even better because students can acquire teamwork, communication, and life-long learning skills and develop an appreciation for other disciplines. This paper describes a case study of the Integrated Multidisciplinary Project (IMP) programme conducted at Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore in which students from different faculties such as engineering, business management, chemical and life sciences, health sciences, and interactive and digital media came together to work on real-life projects over a period of six months using an underlying methodology of Design Thinking. All twelve teams successfully developed working prototypes, presented their projects in public settings, demonstrated growing levels of diverse technical and life skills through the project and reflected on their learning journey in the end to identify their strengths and areas of improvement. All the students provided positive feedback on the impact that the IMP programme had on their personal and professional development. Finally, this paper also examines the challenges faced in the implementation of IMP and discusses the potential improvements to the programme.