Challenge-Based Learning

Adapting education to the needs of the students, involving stakeholders from society and working towards solutions to the world's greatest challenges. That is what Challenge-Based Learning (CBL) is all about!

Under the guidance of an experienced coach, students with different backgrounds (for example, discipline, university, nationality) collaborate with stakeholders from the private, public and non-profit sectors to set the first steps to a solution.


The University of Twente defined Challenge-Based Learning as

 "A process whereby learners are actively engaged in situations that are real, relevant and related to their environment, driven by challenging, open-ended problems that have multiple solutions, build on the foundation of experiential learning, the learning process is more important than the outcome (solutions)."


The Challenge-Based learning framework

The fundamentals of Challenge-Based Learning are based on:

CBL is student-driven, where students can choose their learning activities and define their own individual learning goals

The Challenge-Based Learning framework is divided into three interconnected phases:

  1. Engage: in which the learners get motivated and engaged to work on the challenge, moving from an abstract big idea to a concrete and actionable challenge,
  2. Investigate: in which learners research the challenge to create a foundation for actionable and sustainable solutions that lead to a thorough understanding of the problem,
  3. Act: in which evidence-based solutions are developed and implemented with an authentic audience and the results evaluated, resulting in further learning through sharing and reflection.

In What is Challenge-Based Learning the framework is presented in more detail.

The Challenge-Based learning landscape

Many of today’s problems cannot be solved by one discipline alone. These problems require a multidisciplinary approach, where solutions require technical and also social perspectives and understanding. A mission supported by the visions of the University of Twente, ECIU University and other higher education institutes. 

Implementing Challenge-Based learning

Implementing CBL in your curriculum on all levels (course, module, programme) starts with engaging, investigating and acting yourself and your teaching team.  Start here: 

Getting started with CBL

Looking at your education through the 'eyes' of the Challenge-Based learning framework is the first step in implementing CBL in your education.

CBL toolbox

In the toolbox tips, tricks, and tools are available for course coordinators, teachers, and students.

CBL Innovation map

Overview of Funded projects 2021-2023, Learning and Teaching Fellows, SUTQ - CBL group, CBL initiatives and showcases.


Via self-study materials, workshops and tutorials you can educate yourself individually or with others in CBL.

For support or questions email cbl-ces@utwente.nl or get in touch with one of our CBL experts.