Problem-Based Learning for Low Carbon Society


Problem-Based Learning for Low Carbon Society (PBL LCS) is an educational program for secondary school students to acquire knowledge and skills in tackling LCS related problems. It started as a part of a grassroot project conducted by the Kyoto Environmental Activities Association (KEAA) which was funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in 2016. The three year project aims at capacity building for LCS in Iskandar Malaysia.

In this project, teachers are trained to use PBL in teaching LCS issues to students. PBL is a teaching and learning method that are based on Constructivism learning theory. It is a student-centred approach where learning is the active role of the students while teachers act as facilitators to guide the learning. In this project, specifically Cooperative Problem-Based Learning (CPBL) is used.

Selected teachers will go through a series of training on Active Learning, Cooperative Learning, PBL and LCS. They also design problems and lesson plans. All these take 10 day of training in a period of 3 months. After each training, the teachers are encouraged to practice what they have learnt and continue to the next training. The training is provided by PBL and LCS experts from UTM.

After the training, the teachers will conduct PBL LCS class in a team teaching manner as they will act as facilitators to a class of Form 2 students. The students will go through 3 LCS related problems in 6 month of learning. They will identify problems, define problems, identify learning issues, self study, peer teaching, discuss learning in groups, present their understanding and make reflection of their own learning. From the learning, they will be able to propose method to further understand LCS problems and propose meaningful solutions. The teaching and learning process is observed by UTM so that supervision can be given to the teachers to improve their teaching and learning.

To recognize the hard work of teachers and  students involved in this project, a competition is organized at the end of the year. The main objective of the PBL LCS is for the students to understand  and learn more about LCS. It is the learning that is more important than the winning. Therefore, the  competition is designed to assess the students’ performance in terms of knowledge and skills acquired  throughout the implementation of LCS PBL in a year. All the groups will submit their final report to UTM. Marks from the teachers and UTM will be combined to determine the best 3 groups from each school. The selected groups will enter the semi-final competition in a poster presentation format. The best 6 groups will be selected to participate the final competition where they will present their problem and solution orally.


In 2016, 2 pilot schools were chosen to join the program. They are SMK Sultanah Engku Tun Aminah (SETA) and SMK Taman Johor Jaya 2 (JJ2). 6 STEM teachers from each school were nominated by the principal to participate the training. After the training, the teachers conducted the PBL LCS classes once every fortnight at their schools to a class of Form 2 students. It was stressful for teachers to conduct the class because it required a total paradigm shift from teacher centred learning to student centred learning. Teachers also have to make early planning and find time to make discussion among all of them. Some teachers nearly gave up in the program. It was also stressful for the students because of the drastic paradigm change. The students now have to take more responsible towards their learning, not merely coming to the class without preparation. LCS issues are also very new and they are not in their school syllabus.

However, after 3 months of the classes, significant changes among the students can be observed by the teachers. The students became more independent in their learning, can learn by themselves topics that are beyond the teachers’ knowledge, they can communicate more effectively and confidently, ask more questions and meaningful questions, understand better, read more, can work together in a team, can manage time well and enjoy the learning. Seeing the changes, the teachers felt that the hard work is worth it. They continued the classes until the end of the competition.

With the success in the first year, PBL LCS was expanded to 6 schools in 2017 to include SMK Kelapa Sawit, SMK Telok Kerang, Sekolah Menengah Islam Hidayah and Sekolah Menengah Islam As-Siddiq. In total 28 teachers joined the training. In 2018, 12 schools participated PBL LCS. The new schools are SMK Sri Pulai Perdana, SMK Dato Penggawa Barat, SMK Dato Jaafar, SMK Sultan Ismail, SMK Kota Puteri 2 and SMK Kota Masai 2. Moving on in 2019, as Majlis Bandaraya Iskandar Puteri (MBIP) continues to support PBL LCS after the end of the JICA project, 5 more schools from the region of Iskandar Puteri were involved, they are SMK Skudai, SMK Taman Universiti 2, SMK Seri Perling, SMK Taman Sutera and SMK Bandar Uda Utama. In 2019, a total of 62 teachers and 318 Form 2 students joined PBL LCS.

In 2018, PBL LCS Final was conducted in conjunction with Seminar Iskandar Malaysia towards Low Carbon Society 2018 organized by MBIP and supported by GTALCC. In 2019, the final competition was again conducted in conjunction with Seminar Iskandar Puteri towards Low Carbon Society 2019 organized by MBIP and supported by GTALCC.


2016 – SMK Taman Johor Jaya 2

2017 – SMK Taman Johor Jaya 2 – visit Kyoto, Japan

2018 – SMK Kota Puteri 2 – visit Kyoto, Japan

2019 – SMK Sultan Ismail


From the research carried out by UTM, it shows that PBL LCS developed professional skills among students, increase their knowledge in STEM and improve the 21st century skills. PBL LCS also improve the time management and pedagogical skills among the teachers. The publication below are some of the impacts studied:

Student Self-Development through Cooperative Problem Based Learning (CPBL)

Cooperative Problem-Based Learning to Develop 21st Century Skills among Secondary School Students through STEM Education

Developing the 21st Century Skills through STEM Education using Cooperative Problem-Based Learning among School Students

Crafting STEM Problems for Problem-Based Learning Classes


PBL LCS 2019

PBL LCS 2018

PBL LCS 2017

PBL LCS 2016