Surmounting Obstacles in STEM Education: An In-depth Analysis of Literature Paving the Way for Proficient Pedagogy in STEM Learning




STEM Education, Effective Pedagogy, Review of the Literature, Challenges, Opportunities


The modern educational system has recognized the significance of STEM as a vital component of students' preparation for a promising future. Consequently, there is a need for comprehensive research in STEM education, encompassing an understanding of its context, challenges, and strategies to overcome these obstacles. Ongoing research continues to focus on developing coherent studies in this area, particularly emphasizing effective STEM pedagogy, which has proven to positively impact students' learning outcomes. However, despite its potential, STEM education faces several challenges that could impede its progress. In the scope of this study, a thorough examination revealed at least six key challenges confronting, these challenges encompass: pedagogical challenges, curriculum-related issues, structural complexities, student apprehensions, assessment concerns, and the critical need for teacher support. These challenges, along with proposed solutions, are discussed in-depth in this article. It is worth noting that pedagogical challenges hold paramount importance, as teachers play a pivotal role in implementing successful STEM education in schools. As such, this article delves into various effective pedagogical aspects that can facilitate the advancement of STEM education and foster enhanced learning experiences for students. Several key aspects contribute to effective pedagogy in STEM education and learning, including: (a) cultivating an innovative learning environment that nurtures inquiry, experimentation, and critical thinking; (b) utilizing a diverse range of authentic learning methods and relevant educational resources; (c) facilitating a collaborative learning environment that encourages teamwork and knowledge sharing; (d) creating an inclusive learning environment that accommodates the diverse needs of students; and (e) encouraging continuous reflection on and improvement of teaching practices to optimize learning outcomes.


Download data is not yet available.


Aeschlimann, B., Herzog, W., & Makarova, E. (2016). How to foster students’ motivation in mathematics and science classes and promote students’ STEM career choice. A study in Swiss high schools. International Journal of Educational Research, 79, 31–41.

Al Salami, M. K., Makela, C. J., & de Miranda, M. A. (2017). Assessing changes in teachers’ attitudes toward interdisciplinary STEM teaching. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 27(1), 63–88.

Archer, L., Godec, S., Patel, U., Dawson, E., & Calabrese Barton, A. (2022). ‘It really has made me think’: Exploring how informal STEM learning practitioners developed critical reflective practice for social justice using the Equity Compass tool. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 0(0), 1–23.

Asghar, A., Ellington, R., Rice, E., Johnson, F., & Prime, G. M. (2012). Supporting STEM Education in Secondary Science Contexts. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 6(2).

Bagiati, A., & Evangelou, D. (2015). Engineering curriculum in the preschool classroom: The teacher’s experience. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 23(1), 112–128.

Bell, D. (2016). The reality of STEM education, design and technology teachers’ perceptions: A phenomenographic study. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 26(1), 61–79.

Bennett, D., Knight, E., Dockery, A. M., & Bawa, S. (2020). Pedagogies for employability: Understanding the needs of STEM students through a new approach to employability development. Higher Education Pedagogies, 5(1), 340–359.

Biazus, M. de O., & Mahtari, S. (2022). The Impact of Project-Based Learning (PjBL) Model on Secondary Students’ Creative Thinking Skills. International Journal of Essential Competencies in Education, 1(1), 38–48.

Bilad, M. R., Anwar, K., & Hayati, S. (2022). Nurturing Prospective STEM Teachers’ Critical Thinking Skill through Virtual Simulation-Assisted Remote Inquiry in Fourier Transform Courses. International Journal of Essential Competencies in Education, 1(1), Article 1.

Bilad, M. R., Doyan, A., & Susilawati, S. (2022). Analyzing STEM Students’ Critical Thinking Performance: Literacy Study on the Polymer Film Fabrication Process Irradiated with Gamma Rays. International Journal of Essential Competencies in Education, 1(2), Article 2.

Börner, K., Scrivner, O., Gallant, M., Ma, S., Liu, X., Chewning, K., Wu, L., & Evans, J. A. (2018). Skill discrepancies between research, education, and jobs reveal the critical need to supply soft skills for the data economy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(50), 12630–12637.

Clark, R., & Andrews, J. (2010). Researching primary engineering education: UK perspectives, an exploratory study. European Journal of Engineering Education, 35(5), 585–595.

Clements, D. H., Vinh, M., Lim, C.-I., & Sarama, J. (2021). STEM for Inclusive Excellence and Equity. Early Education and Development, 32(1), 148–171.

Coufal, P. (2022). Project-Based STEM Learning Using Educational Robotics as the Development of Student Problem-Solving Competence. Mathematics, 10(23), Article 23.

Dalal, M., Carberry, A. R., & Maxwell, R. (2022). Broadening the Pool of Precollege Engineering Teachers: The Path Experienced by a Music Teacher. IEEE Transactions on Education, 65(3), 344–355.

Dare, E. A., Ellis, J. A., & Roehrig, G. H. (2014). Driven by Beliefs: Understanding Challenges Physical Science Teachers Face When Integrating Engineering and Physics. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 4(2).

Delen, I., & Sen, S. (2023). Effect of design?based learning on achievement in K?12 education: A meta analysis. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 60(2), 330–356.

Diaz Eaton, C., Bonner, K., Cangialosi, K., Dewsbury, B., Diamond-Stanic, M., Douma, J., Smith, M., Taylor, R., Wojdak, J., & Wilfong, K. (2022). Sustainability and Justice: Challenges and Opportunities for an Open STEM Education. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 21(3), es4.

Diekman, A. B., & Benson-Greenwald, T. M. (2018). Fixing STEM Workforce and Teacher Shortages: How Goal Congruity Can Inform Individuals and Institutions. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5(1), 11–18.

Domenici, V. (2022). STEAM Project-Based Learning Activities at the Science Museum as an Effective Training for Future Chemistry Teachers. Education Sciences, 12(1), Article 1.

Dong, Y., Wang, J., Yang, Y., & Kurup, P. M. (2020). Understanding intrinsic challenges to STEM instructional practices for Chinese teachers based on their beliefs and knowledge base. International Journal of STEM Education, 7(1), 47.

Du, X., & Lyublinskaya, I. (2023). Study of computer attitudes in STEM problem?solving for students with disabilities. Computer Applications in Engineering Education, 31(1), 117–130.

Edelen, D., & Bush, S. B. (2021). Moving Toward Inclusiveness in STEM With Culturally Responsive Teaching. Kappa Delta Pi Record.

Ekayanti, B. H., Prayogi, S., & Gummah, S. (2022). Efforts to Drill the Critical Thinking Skills on Momentum and Impulse Phenomena Using Discovery Learning Model. International Journal of Essential Competencies in Education, 1(2), Article 2.

EL-Deghaidy, H., Mansour, N., Alzaghibi, M., & Alhammad, K. (2017). Context of STEM Integration in Schools: Views from In-service Science Teachers. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 13(6).

ElSayary, A. (2021). Using a Reflective Practice Model to Teach STEM Education in a Blended Learning Environment. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 17(2).

Gasman, M., & Nguyen, T.-H. (2016). Engaging voices: Methods for studying STEM education at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Journal for Multicultural Education, 10(2), 194–205.

Goodpaster, K. P. S., Adedokun, O. A., & Weaver, G. C. (2012). Teachers’ Perceptions of Rural STEM Teaching: Implications for Rural Teacher Retention. Rural Educator, 33(3), 9–22.

Hernandez, D., Rana, S., Alemdar, M., Rao, A., & Usselman, M. (2016). Latino parents’ educational values and STEM beliefs. Journal for Multicultural Education, 10(3), 354–367.

Herro, D., & Quigley, C. (2017). Exploring teachers’ perceptions of STEAM teaching through professional development: Implications for teacher educators. Professional Development in Education, 43(3), 416–438.

Hidayat, R., & Evendi, E. (2022). The Intervention of Mathematical Problem-Solving Model on the Systems of Linear Equation Material: Analysing its Impact on Increasing Students’ Creative Thinking. International Journal of Essential Competencies in Education, 1(2), Article 2.

Ho, M.-T., La, V.-P., Nguyen, M.-H., Pham, T.-H., Vuong, T.-T., Vuong, H.-M., Pham, H.-H., Hoang, A.-D., & Vuong, Q.-H. (2020). An analytical view on STEM education and outcomes: Examples of the social gap and gender disparity in Vietnam. Children and Youth Services Review, 119, 105650.

Holmlund, T. D., Lesseig, K., & Slavit, D. (2018). Making sense of “STEM education” in K-12 contexts. International Journal of STEM Education, 5(1), 32.

Holstein, K. A., & Keene, K. A. (2013). The Complexities and Challenges Associated with the Implementation of a STEM Curriculum. Teacher Education and Practice, 26(4), 616–636.

Hsu, Y.-C. (2021). An Action Research in Critical Thinking Concept Designed Curriculum Based on Collaborative Learning for Engineering Ethics Course. Sustainability, 13(5), Article 5.

Kayan-Fadlelmula, F., Sellami, A., Abdelkader, N., & Umer, S. (2022). A systematic review of STEM education research in the GCC countries: Trends, gaps and barriers. International Journal of STEM Education, 9(1), 2.

Kilty, T. J., & Burrows, A. C. (2022). Integrated STEM and Partnerships: What to Do for More Effective Teams in Informal Settings. Education Sciences, 12(1), Article 1.

Knestis, K., Cheng, J., Fontaine, C. M., & Feng, R. (2022). Engaging Government-Industry-University Partnerships to Further Gender Equity in STEM Workforce Education Through Technology and Information System Learning Tools. Journal of Information Systems Education, 33(1), 23.

Lange, C., Costley, J., & Fanguy, M. (2021). Collaborative group work and the different types of cognitive load. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 58(4), 377–386.

Lee, M.-H., Chai, C. S., & Hong, H.-Y. (2019). STEM Education in Asia Pacific: Challenges and Development. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 28(1), 1–4.

Lesseig, K., Nelson, T. H., Slavit, D., & Seidel, R. A. (2016). Supporting Middle School Teachers’ Implementation of STEM Design Challenges. School Science and Mathematics, 116(4), 177–188.

Leung, A. (2020). Boundary crossing pedagogy in STEM education. International Journal of STEM Education, 7(1), 15.

Li, Y., Schoenfeld, A. H., diSessa, A. A., Graesser, A. C., Benson, L. C., English, L. D., & Duschl, R. A. (2019). Design and Design Thinking in STEM Education. Journal for STEM Education Research, 2(2), 93–104.

Margot, K. C., & Kettler, T. (2019). Teachers’ perception of STEM integration and education: A systematic literature review. International Journal of STEM Education, 6(1), 2.

Miller?Idriss, C., & Hanauer, E. (2011). Transnational higher education: Offshore campuses in the Middle East. Comparative Education, 47(2), 181–207.

Mulnix, A. B. (2016). STEM Faculty as Learners in Pedagogical Reform and the Role of Research Articles as Professional Development Opportunities. CBE—Life Sciences Education, 15(4), es8.

Mutambara, D., & Bayaga, A. (2021). Determinants of mobile learning acceptance for STEM education in rural areas. Computers & Education, 160, 104010.

Nadelson, L. S., & Seifert, A. (2013). Perceptions, Engagement, and Practices of Teachers Seeking Professional Development in Place-Based Integrated STEM. Teacher Education and Practice, 26(2), 242–266.

Oyewo, O. A., Ramaila, S., & Mavuru, L. (2022). Harnessing Project-Based Learning to Enhance STEM Students’ Critical Thinking Skills Using Water Treatment Activity. Education Sciences, 12(11), Article 11.

Park, H., Byun, S., Sim, J., Han, H.-S., & Baek, Y. S. (2016). Teachers’ Perceptions and Practices of STEAM Education in South Korea. EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 12(7).

Park, M.-H., Dimitrov, D. M., Patterson, L. G., & Park, D.-Y. (2017). Early childhood teachers’ beliefs about readiness for teaching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 15(3), 275–291.

Peña, M., Olmedo-Torre, N., Mas De Les Valls, E., & Lusa, A. (2021). Introducing and Evaluating the Effective Inclusion of Gender Dimension in STEM Higher Education. Sustainability, 13(9), 4994.

Prahani, B. K., Dawana, I. R., Jatmiko, B., & Amelia, T. (2023). Research Trend of Big Data in Education During the Last 10 Years. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (IJET), 18(10), 39–64.

Ryoo, J., & Winkelmann, K. (Eds.). (2021). Innovative Learning Environments in STEM Higher Education: Opportunities, Challenges, and Looking Forward. Springer International Publishing.

Ryu, M., Mentzer, N., & Knobloch, N. (2019). Preservice teachers’ experiences of STEM integration: Challenges and implications for integrated STEM teacher preparation. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 29(3), 493–512.

Sahin, A., & Top, N. (2015). Teachers’ Reflections on STEM Students on the Stage (SOS)TM Model. In A. Sahin (Ed.), A Practice-based Model of STEM Teaching (pp. 205–224). SensePublishers.

Schmidt, J. A., Beymer, P. N., Rosenberg, J. M., Naftzger, N. N., & Shumow, L. (2020). Experiences, activities, and personal characteristics as predictors of engagement in STEM-focused summer programs. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 57(8), 1281–1309.

Scogin, S. C., Marks, M., Mader, C., & Phillips, K. (2023). Building motivationally supportive course-based research experiences for undergraduates: A self-determination theory perspective. Higher Education Pedagogies, 8(1), 2165528.

Shernoff, D. J., Sinha, S., Bressler, D. M., & Ginsburg, L. (2017). Assessing teacher education and professional development needs for the implementation of integrated approaches to STEM education. International Journal of STEM Education, 4(1), 13.

Sidekerskien?, T., & Damaševi?ius, R. (2023). Out-of-the-Box Learning: Digital Escape Rooms as a Metaphor for Breaking Down Barriers in STEM Education. Sustainability, 15(9), 7393.

Smith, K., Maynard, N., Berry, A., Stephenson, T., Spiteri, T., Corrigan, D., Mansfield, J., Ellerton, P., & Smith, T. (2022). Principles of Problem-Based Learning (PBL) in STEM Education: Using Expert Wisdom and Research to Frame Educational Practice. Education Sciences, 12(10), Article 10.

Sochacka, N. W., Guyotte, Kelly. W., & Walther, J. (2016). Learning Together: A Collaborative Autoethnographic Exploration of STEAM (STEM + the Arts) Education. Journal of Engineering Education, 105(1), 15–42.

Tabarés, R., & Boni, A. (2023). Maker culture and its potential for STEM education. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 33(1), 241–260.

Van Haneghan, J. P., Pruet, S. A., Neal-Waltman, R., & Harlan, J. M. (2015). Teacher Beliefs about Motivating and Teaching Students to Carry out Engineering Design Challenges: Some Initial Data. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research (J-PEER), 5(2).

van Laar, E., van Deursen, A. J. A. M., van Dijk, J. A. G. M., & de Haan, J. (2017). The relation between 21st-century skills and digital skills: A systematic literature review. Computers in Human Behavior, 72, 577–588.

Varma, R., Falk, J. H., & Dierking, L. D. (2023). Challenges and Opportunities: Asian Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. American Behavioral Scientist, 67(9), 1063–1073.

Wahyudi, W., Verawati, N. N. S. P., Ayub, S., & Prayogi, S. (2019). The Effect of Scientific Creativity in Inquiry Learning to Promote Critical Thinking Ability of Prospective Teachers. International Journal of Emerging Technologies in Learning (IJET), 14(14), Article 14.

Wang, H.-H., Moore, T. J., Roehrig, G. H., & Park, M. S. (2011). STEM Integration: Teacher Perceptions and Practice. Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education Research, 1(2).

Wang, J., Guo, D., & Jou, M. (2015). A study on the effects of model-based inquiry pedagogy on students’ inquiry skills in a virtual physics lab. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 658–669.

Wirzal, M. D. H., Halim, N. S. A., Md Nordin, N. A. H., & Bustam, M. A. (2022). Metacognition in Science Learning: Bibliometric Analysis of Last Two Decades. Jurnal Penelitian Dan Pengkajian Ilmu Pendidikan: E-Saintika, 6(1), 43–60.




How to Cite

Salvetti, F., Rijal, K., Owusu-Darko, I., & Prayogi, S. (2023). Surmounting Obstacles in STEM Education: An In-depth Analysis of Literature Paving the Way for Proficient Pedagogy in STEM Learning. International Journal of Essential Competencies in Education, 2(2), 177–196.



Article Review