The Effect of STEM Instruction on Attitude, Career Perception and Career Interest in a Problem-based Learning Environment and Student Opinions

Uğur Sarı, Mısra Alıcı, Ömer Faruk Şen

Abstract


Many researchers argue that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) instruction contribute to the national economy and educators attempt to develop integrated instructional programs. In the current study, the effect of a problem-based STEM activity on students’ attitudes, career perceptions and career interests was investigated by using both qualitative and quantitative methods. The participants are 22 students attending a state secondary school in Turkey. In order to investigate the students’ attitudes towards STEM before and after the implementation of the problem-based learning (PBL) activity, the STEM attitude scale was used and to investigate their career interests, the STEM career interest questionnaire and the scale of interests in STEM-related occupations were employed. Following the application, a semi-structured interview form was used to determine students’ opinions about problem-based STEM activities. The findings revealed that the students’ attitudes towards STEM disciplines, STEM career perceptions and interests in STEM-related occupations significantly increased. The students’ interests particularly in the occupations related to engineering and technology were found to have considerably increased. The students’ interview results also support these findings. During their interviews, the students stated that problem-based STEM instruction is effective in their learning and developing the skills of the 21st century, is making the class more enjoyable, is increasing their interest in the profession of engineering and is helping them to select their future career. As a result, integration of PBL with STEM positively affects students’ attitudes and career perceptions who are in the pursuit of their future career. 


Keywords


STEM; problem based learning; science education

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