The student perspective in developing graduate attributes through problem-based learning in first year agricultural science


  • Daniel K. Y. Tan The University of Sydney
  • Antony Koppi
  • Damien J. Field


To meet university proclamations, academic staff are required to include graduate attributes in student learning. The approach adopted in this first year agricultural science course was to utilise problem-based learning to develop discipline knowledge and graduate attributes in a seamless manner. Rather than giving the students a questionnaire with options for students to indicate what graduate attribute they had learned, a structured learning journal was used to question students about their learning without specifically asking about any graduate attributes. Analysis of the learning journals revealed that significant numbers of students perceived that they had learned or practiced a range of graduate attributes, including teamwork, research, social responsibility, personal attributes, writing abilities, time management, problem solving, leadership, and multidisciplinary skills. These student perceptions exceeded the teachers’ expectations and revealed that problem-based learning in teams can be used for learning discipline knowledge and developing graduate attributes.

Author Biography

Daniel K. Y. Tan, The University of Sydney

Department of Plant and Food Sciences Faculty of Agriculture and Environment