Benefits and Challenges

Building 21st Century Skills

Challenge-based Education serves as an excellent tool to enhance 21st century skills or transversal competencies such as teamwork, communication, negotiation, intercultural awareness, and creativity in students.

CBE brings together students from different disciplinary areas, which encourages cooperation within a culturally diverse group and highlights the role of good communication during teamwork.

It may also prove to be a useful strategy to develop deeper subject-matter expertise as students get to examine a certain aspect of their domain in depth. The solutions developed as part of CBE are innovative as the problem has been viewed through a multi-faceted, interdisciplinary lens by the students. However, the focus of CBE goes beyond generating an 'optimal' solution for a real-life challenge. The heart of CBE teaching and learning remains the process leading upto the solution, where students apply themselves collaboratively, and gain a host of new skills and knowledge. 

CBE is often credited with helping create a ‘T’ shaped professional (see figure above - in which the horizontal line represents transversal competencies, while the vertical line represents subject matter knowledge). 

Even though CBE presents a host of benefits for teaching and learning, design and implementation of CBE courses is challenging due to several factors. See the figure below for a brief overview on expected benefits and challenges of this approach.  

A brief overview of topics that are covered in this open course: