Problem Solution Processes of Musicians and Engineers: What do Their Approaches Look Like


7-step method

How to Cite

Nissilä, S.-P., & Virkkula, E. (2015). Problem Solution Processes of Musicians and Engineers: What do Their Approaches Look Like. Journal of Problem Based Learning in Higher Education, 3(1).


PBL is learning through becoming conscious of practical and abstract problems and finding ways how to solve them. It can be a pattern which doesn’t follow traditional divisions of disciplines. In this article the material was collected from two, in the first sight, very different groups. One was music students (N = 62) who had to learn to solve various practical and theoretical problems in preparing a program for a series of concerts as collective and individual action. The method used was the 7-step method which divides learning into seven phases proceeding from creating the social frame of reference and mental models (steps 1–4) through actual work (steps 5–6) to the evaluation of the outcomes (step 7). Another group consisted of international, multicultural business leaders in engineering (N = 6). In using earlier the 7-step method, the approaches resembled those of the music students: deepening their professional competences. To engage their ability to use imagination and connect reality with brainstorming and mental flexibility, the creative PBL method 635 was used. Three practical problems were solved so that the solutions included new viewpoints which would be applied to meet the real needs in the near future. The results show that not only were the learning targets of both groups reached but, with reflection included, the processes widened the professional competences of the participants.

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