Students applying their knowledge of material science in problem-solving: implications for competence based-learning at the University of Zimbabwe

Peter Kwaira


This study involved a class of serving teachers in their second year of a Bachelor of Education degree programme, in which one of the pre-requisite courses covered during first year was ‘Principles of Material Science (PMS). At the time of study, they were studying ‘Machine-shop Practice’ (MsP); a course based on the Design and Technology (D&T) approach, in terms of teaching and learning. They were required to solve practical-technical problems through hands-on practical activities, supported by relevant ancillary theory. In practice, during such activities, students are expected to demonstrate the ability to apply their knowledge of Material Science (MS) in various ways; for example, in the choice of materials for given projects aimed at solving specific problems and in the methods of working such materials. Now given this background, the problem was therefore to determine the extent to which students applied their knowledge of MS in solving selected problems under MsP. Data were gathered through interviews, discussions, observations and document analysis. Findings showed students being able to apply their knowledge of MS effectively during problem-solving under MsP; thereby, qualifying their learning as having been outcome-based in nature.


curriculum change and innovation; design and technology; outcome-based learning; problem-solving; teaching; learning; technical education

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