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Abstract

Problem-based learning (PBL) is an instructional design approach for promoting student learning, understanding and knowledge development in context rich settings. Previous PBL research has primarily focused on face-to-face learning environments, but current technologies afford PBL designers the opportunities to create online, virtual, PBL environments. The GlobalEd 2 Project is an example of a PBL environment that combines the positive characteristics of both face-to-face and online environments in a 14-week simulation of international negotiations of science advisors on global water resource issues. The GlobalEd 2 PBL environment is described examining the impact it has had on middle school students’ interest in future science education experiences, self-efficacy related to writing in science and self-efficacy related to technology use for academic purposes using a pre-test post-test design. Analyses using ANOVAs of gain scores and ANCOVAs of subgroup differences demonstrate a positive impact on the science interest and self-efficacy of 208 middle-grade students from urban and suburban schools.

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