Faculty Publications

The Convergence Of Online Teaching And Problem Based Learning Modules

Document Type



Distance education, Hybrid educational models, Online education, Pedagogy, Problem based learning modules, Teaching

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Proceedings of the European Conference on Research Methods in Business and Management Studies



First Page


Last Page



There is a convergence occurring between two formerly unique and separate areas of teaching research methodology: distance education and problem based learning (PBL) modules. Much has been published on each field independently, however, in the modern-era of online, distance, and hybrid educational programs there is a need for more case and experiential based learning activities which can effectively measure stated learning objectives. Trends in education have led to the development of various methods to instruct courses and conduct research online. Teaching research methodology and pedagogy have evolved to include video capture, remote conferencing, and other real-time communications techniques allowing faculty and students to collaborate across great distances. Meanwhile, PBL environments have been used extensively in teaching medicine, clinical practice, law, business, and many other disciplines to improve student learning. One example of this merger between online delivery and PBLs was the development of a PBL statistical process control (PBL-SPC) module. A team was created across both a college of business and education in which a PBL-SPC module was developed based on a real-life situation in which students immerse themselves in a Frito-Lay® potato chip factory. The motivation for the PBL-SPC was that this is a challenging topic to cover which students often find difficult to relate to and/or boring. Three different scenarios were developed and students, as individuals or in teams, must traverse the simulated factory to assess the situation. By “speaking,” with the fictitious characters created in the simulation, the students get the perspectives of the manufacturing supervisors for each area. In addition, some stations have datasets which can be downloaded as MS Excel spreadsheets to be further analyzed using statistical process control (SPC) techniques. Learning outcomes are measured by the course instructors. URL to website removed for blind peer review.

Original Publication Date



UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa



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