Date of Award

January 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Woei W. Hung


The Student-Generated Problems (SGP) instructional strategy represents an exclusive area of real-world practice used by some educators to give powerful support and responsibility to college students for their learning experience (Mestre, 2002; Zurcher, Coppola, & McNeil, 2016). Undergraduate Engineering students often have difficulty applying gained knowledge in real-world settings and are reportedly underprepared for workplace challenges (Luo et al., 2015; Negro et al. 2019). This study examined the effects of the SGP instructional strategy used in an undergraduate Electrical Engineering course to determine students’ abilities to apply conceptual knowledge and problem-solving skills in real problem lab activities. The need for this study was to prepare students to be able to function well in the workplace environment in the future. The study also investigated whether there were relationships between students’ skills in SGP and their problem-solving skills, conceptual, and application knowledge of Electrical Engineering concepts under study. This investigation employed a quantitative approach, using a within-subject design with pre-post testing. A single group of participants experienced both the regular and SGP instructional strategy. This study’s independent variables were the type of instructional strategy–traditional class instruction and the SGP approach. The dependent variables are the students’ learning outcomes. This quantitative study used knowledge test (pre and post) to test the students’ conceptual knowledge, a Problem-Solving Inventory (PSI) survey to assess the students’ self-perception of problem-solving skills, and a problem identification rubric to assess students’ knowledge application in the SGP activity. Limited differences were revealed in the control and experimental group participants’ responses of their conceptual knowledge, knowledge application abilities, and self- perception of problem-solving skills. Test scores in the knowledge areas did not have a statistically significant overall relationship with the most of study variables. However, the test revealed that the difference in the test scores for the approach avoidance style construct was statistically significant. Further investigation on the connections between these study variables and the SGP instructional strategy is needed to provide a more insightful depiction of the effects of the Student-Generated Problems approach on students’ development of conceptual knowledge, knowledge application, and problem-solving skills in electrical engineering concepts. Although this study did not report a significant difference between the SGP and the traditional group, there appears to be a difference between the mean scores among the two groups. Hence, it can be implied that SGP has the potential to promote knowledge utilization and problem-solving skills among engineering students. This is because SGP enables students to connect and relate classroom concepts to real-world problems, and as a result contextualizing their learning. The findings of this study are significant for engineering instructors who intend to promote knowledge application and problem-solving skills in their teaching. Also, SGP is a constructivist learning approach and the results from this study suggest that it may offer alternative instructions to the traditional teacher-centered approach, thereby helping instructors better prepare their students for their future workplace challenges.