Problem-based learning in secondary education: evaluation by an experiment

Kristof De Witte*, Nicky Rogge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The effectiveness of problem-based learning (pbl) in terms of increasing students’ educational attainments has been extensively studied for higher education students and in nonexperimental settings. This paper tests the effectiveness of pbl as an alternative instruction method in secondary education. In a controlled experiment at the class level, we estimate its effect on tested student attainments, on perceived student attainments, on autonomous and controlled motivation, and on class atmosphere. The outcomes indicate a significant positive effect on student achievements, a significant positive effect on motivation, and a significant positive effect on class atmosphere.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-82
JournalEducation Economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • problem-based learning
  • secondary education
  • student achievements
  • student motivation
  • classroom social climate
  • experiment

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