Reflective practice in project-based learning: IT graduate perceptions on mobile development for a community project
Abstract: A non-profit public organization approached a university to assist them with developing a mobile application that could be distributed to a local community to report and manage service delivery concerns not addressed by the municipality. The project was given to exit-level IT students as an opportunity to take part in a community project, develop their IT skills and to gain experience (a project-based learning approach). The community project consisted of IT students as the application developers, IT lecturers as project managers and community representatives as project sponsors. The purpose of this paper is to report on the value of using a community-based project for project-based learning (PBL), and how a reflective practice approach improves the required IT industry skills of students. Students that took part in this project are now alumni of the university working in different IT fields. These alumni were interviewed to understand their perspectives on the use of community projects for PBL as part of an IT degree, and the impact the learning experience has made towards their current work-life. Recommendations are made to motivate the use of community projects for PBL, and embedding reflective practice to prepare IT graduates for the IT-industry.