Week 10 – PBA Wrap-UP

Thank you all for your participation in the Problem Based Assessment presentation. So many interesting ideas and perspectives have been posted this week; this is a summary of what was discussed:


People highlighted a number of ways we have used PBA in MET, including creating concept maps, wikis, blogs, as well as storytelling (using tools like ToonDoo, VoiceThread) and creating their own Moodle courses. Tamara mentioned “the ultimate” in MET product-based assessment, ETEC 590, which involves a final PBA for the entire program. Kerry-Ann characterized MET’s use of PBA as “one of the positives of the MET program in that, being product centred, the program creates skills and tools that can be used directly within the teaching and learning process.”


From an educational perspective, some of the advantages of PBA that people identified included:

  • Authentic and engaging activities; more intrinsically motivating
  • Has easier application to our professional lives, e.g., by helping us to increase our technology skills instead of just our theoretical knowledge
  • Increases student ownership of the learning, and develops independence, tenacity, and patience
  • Can support or involve collaboration and offers opportunities for learners to receive peer and teacher feedback on their work
  • Fosters creativity and innovation
  • More rewarding than studying for exams
  • Requiring higher-order thinking: Bloom’s Taxonomy was mentioned several times, and in the revised taxonomy “creating” represents the highest order thinking skills. In general people noted that PBA-style tasks encourage higher order thinking. However, someone also noted that not all “creations” achieve this, and superficiality is possible with any task.

People also noted disadvantages, such as it being more time-consuming for both students and teachers, and not standardized.

Stress was noted as both an advantage and disadvantage: some people commented that PBA is less stressful for learners because writing tests can be anxiety-producing. However, others noted that they observed students in their classes feeling more anxiety around PBA because it pushes them to operate outside their comfort zone, to do things that are not necessarily ‘the norm’ in their courses.

People have implemented PBA in their own classrooms with e-portfolios, blogs, digital storytelling, and other activities. Julie offered an example of PBA in workplace training , describing how learners created products directly related to their work during a 13-week program. Other people described using blogs, other Web 2.0 tools, and e-portfolios with their students. Rubrics were mentioned many times, with people highlighting the importance of clear rubrics that establish a framework (even if they do not establish specific ‘outputs’) for students.


The notes you all made in the  SWOT analysis echoed much of the blog discussion, and some of the ventures suggested in the blog and SWOT included:

  • An app that support teachers to find ready-made PBA activities or develop rubrics
  • e-Portfolio systems for employees (teachers or others) that allowed them to connect their workplace performance and products with their employer’s specific criteria and performance management tools
  • A service that supports workplaces to use training programs that integrate the employees’ learning into the business products
  • Simulations that support authentic learning experiences
  • Plugins or modules that can be added to student information systems


Generally people had positive impressions of PBA as both students and educators, although there was some uncertainty around whether this is a market overflowing with opportunities.


Thank you all for your participation, and for supporting the week 10 team to continue developing our own understanding of PBA.

– Verena, Kristopher, Doug & Andrea

Posted in: Uncategorized, Week 10: Product-Based Assessments