Rocket to Creativity: A Field Experience in Problem-Based and Project-Based Learning

  • Sharon Frances Dole Western Carolina University
  • Lisa Arleen Bloom Western Carolina University
  • Kristy Kowalske Doss Western Carolina University
Keywords: Field Experience, Clinical Practice, Experiential Learning, Problem-Based Learning, Project-Based Learning


The purpose of this article is to examine the impact of a field experience in problem-based (PBL) and project-based learning (PjBL) on pre-service and in-service teachers’ conceptions of experiential learning.  In our study, participants had been enrolled in a hybrid class that included an online component in which they learned about PBL and PjBL and an experiential component in which they facilitated PBL and PjBL with children in grades 1-9 during a one-week field experience on a university campus.  The goal of the field experience is for teachers to change their practice from didactic to inquiry and to promote critical and creative thinking in their students.  We used a case study method that involved data derived from six different sources: online structured interviews, follow-up telephone interviews, discussion board posts, reflections, course feedback, and observations.  The main theme that emerged from the data analysis was the critical role the field experience played in applying theory to practice.  Sub-themes included understanding the process of implementing PBL and PjBL, mastering the logistics of PBL and PjBL, becoming facilitators, and collaborating with partners.  Results showed that the field experience gave the teachers the “courage” to experiment with a student-centered methodology. 

Author Biographies

Sharon Frances Dole, Western Carolina University

Sharon Dole is Professor of Gifted and Special Education in the School of Teaching and Learning.

Lisa Arleen Bloom, Western Carolina University
Lisa Bloom is Professor of Special and Gifted Education in the School of Teaching and Learning.
Kristy Kowalske Doss, Western Carolina University
Kristy Doss is Adjunct Faculty in the School of Teaching and Learning.