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Journal of Consumer Sciences

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Project-Based Learning in Consumer Sciences: Enhancing Students’ Responsibility in Learning

M Havenga, H de Beer

Abstract


This study applied project-based learning (PBL) in Consumer Sciences (CS) with the aim of enhancing student responsibility in learning and contributing to teaching and learning by proposing a theory concerning students’ responsibilities. First-year students are often overwhelmed when exposed to the challenges of tertiary education as they are required to accept responsibility and direct their own learning processes. To address the problem, this research applied PBL in an introductory CS module to enhance students’ responsibility. We propose a theory, which highlights responsibility from the perspectives of self-directed learning, social constructivism and the capability approach. This theory, applying Hegel’s notion, emphasises the understanding of individual and collaborative responsibilities where freedom is morally important. To confirm or reject the theory, the investigation explored how first-year students can apply PBL in CS to enhance responsible learning. A mixed method design was used. A population of 104 students participated in this research. Data collection involved a questionnaire, documents, a project and test. The questionnaire was statistically analysed while qualitative analysis involved coding and the emergence of themes. Although some students initially experienced difficulty in managing their responsibilities as part of the CS project, results confirmed the proposed theory and the value thereof in lifelong learning.  This theory emphasises the development of responsible independent learners as well as students who are responsible for and dependent on one another to construct knowledge collaboratively within the freedom of choice to achieve well-being.




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