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Systematic Review

A Framework for Incorporating the “Learning How to Learn” Approach in Teaching STEM Education

Othman Abu Khurma
Abdulla Al Darayseh
2 and
Yahia Alramamneh
Curriculum and Instruction Division, Emirates College for Advanced Education, Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 126662, United Arab Emirates
Learning and Development Division, Emirates College for Advanced Education, Abu Dhabi P.O. Box 126662, United Arab Emirates
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 1;
Submission received: 27 October 2022 / Revised: 6 December 2022 / Accepted: 15 December 2022 / Published: 20 December 2022
(This article belongs to the Section STEM Education)


The importance of STEM subjects for the purposes of scientific and technological development has gained global momentum. Yet, there are various obstacles to applying a STEM education in the context of preparing students for a scientifically and technologically advanced society. There has been little research on how engineering can be incorporated into the elementary school curriculum. This study, thus, provides a systematic review of the learning techniques and structured framework that are used to support learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It also aids in identifying students’ shifts in interest toward STEM subjects, as well as their desire to pursue future STEM-based careers. This study makes use of a systematic literature review of high-impact journals with a Q1 or Q2 ranking. It was also found that there are hurdles in regard to the teaching approach that is used for STEM subjects. This suggests that there are numerous opportunities that can be exploited by educators in their hunt for a better STEM teaching approach. Finally, researchers must create features that enable students to gain fundamental competencies within the STEM disciplines. Future applications must include the experimental support for the purposes of inquiry-based learning activities.

1. Introduction

1.1. Background of STEM

In STEM education—which is often referred to as a standards-based meta-discipline at the school level—all teachers, particularly those who teach STEM subjects, employ an integrated approach in regard to teaching and learning. Discipline-specific content, in this type of method, is addressed and treated as a single, fluid study, rather than divided. This definition of STEM education was provided by Merrill [1]. Simply put, STEM education is the teaching of four distinct subjects to students: science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (collectively shortened to STEM). In order to better prepare students for a job and to consider real-world applications, STEM incorporates all four of these disciplines into one, rather than instructing through just one of them. Due to its benefits across a wide range of sectors, STEM education has grown to be more significant for the world. The STEM fields indirectly contribute significantly to the health of the economy, due to the majority of industries that rely on them. The environmental and social consequences of the twenty-first century, which risk international security and economic stability, may be the driving force behind the urgent need for improved STEM education worldwide. It is widely acknowledged that improving STEM education can help solve a variety of societal difficulties, including the depletion of natural resources and problems in regard to climate change [2]. This chapter suggests a useful theoretical framework that countries may adopt and/or adapt to ensure the success of their STEM education. In order to meet the major issues of the twenty-first century, the purpose of STEM education is for STEM practitioners to strive to improve the workforce in the STEM sectors and to foster STEM literacy [3]. Many educational institutions and decision-makers worldwide are focused in developing competencies in STEM domains, driven by real or perceived current and future frameworks. However, there are a variety of perspectives on the nature and growth of proficiencies in STEM education, and a greater emphasis on integration raises new issues and calls for more research [4,5].
The approach of two or more STEM domains bound by STEM activities in an authentic environment is what we refer to as an integrated STEM education, in general. The goal is to connect these disciplines in order to improve learning [6]. The limitations of this strategy for teaching integrated STEM education are acknowledged by the authors. This strategy’s emphasis on STEM activities and the real-world application of STEM and science may not be able to deliver real-world engineering design applications or conventional STEM practices, due to the limitations of the available technology [4]. Additionally, each STEM subject is required to be taught in a way that fosters literacy and problem-solving abilities (which is knowledge that may be seen by some as being overly career-focused). Certain authors (Bozkurt and Sema; Li and Schoenfeld) [7,8] noted that not all situations will allow for the proposed approach to be used, in order to teach STEM, which may restrict the subject matter that may be covered. As an example, there could be certain theoretically oriented skills in math [9] that are neglected. In regard to the decision-making skills that are developed through STEM education, people can better comprehend and deal with a variety of real-world issues. It is believed that engaging in STEM learning activities would help students develop certain abilities, such as creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making, while certain issues within the humanities, such as in politics, economics, and society can also be seen as being connected to STEM knowledge [10]. Creating a cross-cutting STEM framework is difficult; it necessitates that teachers teach STEM material purposefully in order to ensure that students comprehend how STEM knowledge is applied to real-world issues [11]. Crosscutting connections can still be present, although they are currently implicit or even absent. Students who know little to nothing about the pertinent concepts in the many disciplines find it difficult to connect ideas across disciplines. Additionally, students do not necessarily or naturally use their disciplinary knowledge in integrated contexts [12]. If there is no systematic method employed for the purposes of a better execution of teaching, increased STEM subject integration may not be more beneficial. However, a well-integrated framework offers students chances in which to study in more pertinent and engaging situations, as well as fostering the application of higher level critical thinking abilities, enhancing problem-solving abilities, and boosting student retention [2]. It is important to have a solid conceptual and basic grasp as to how students acquire and apply STEM content before developing a strategic approach toward integrating it.
Due to its potential to support lifelong learning, which is regarded as an all-encompassing concept in knowledge economies, learning how to learn (LHTL) has recently gained prominence in educational policy and practice discourses. As the term “lifelong learning” implies, students must not only learn in school but also develop the skills and habits that will allow them to continue learning into adulthood as knowledge advances rapidly. Learning to learn refers to the capacity to pursue and maintain learning, to plan one’s own learning, including efficient time and information management, both individually and in groups. This competency is being aware of one’s own learning process and needs, being able to recognize opportunities that are accessible, and being able to go through challenges in order to learn more effectively. This competency entails acquiring, integrating, and processing new information and abilities, as well as looking for and utilizing guidance. This should all be conducted in order to use and apply knowledge and skills in a range of contexts, such as at home, at work, in education, and training.
In order to assist students in developing practical cognitive maps, connecting ideas, and addressing misconceptions, teachers must possess a solid understanding of the subject matter and possess a strong ability to adapt. Teachers must understand how concepts relate to various disciplines, as well as to daily life. A growing body of research indicates that this type of professional development benefits students’ learning, as well as teachers’ confidence in their teaching, particularly when it comes to the more difficult types of learning that the new standards require. The most likely way to encourage greater achievement in children, especially those for whom education is the only means of survival and success, is to develop a profession of teaching in which teachers have the opportunity for lifelong learning.
STEM educators do not consistently embrace STEM education in the context of operations. A conceptual framework for STEM education may therefore be advantageous for them. The process of incorporating science, technology, engineering, and math in real-world situations can be just as complicated as the global issues that call for a new generation of STEM professionals [13]. Teachers reportedly find it difficult to draw links between the STEM subjects, according to educational studies. Due to the lack of links to cross-cutting ideas and practical applications, students who learn science and math in a disconnected and isolated manner frequently lose interest in those subjects [14,15]. In this study, the core principles of STEM and learning theories will be combined in order to provide a framework for an integrated STEM education, which will help with future research.
This article is sectioned into four parts. Section 1 is about the background introduction of STEM, the research questions, and the study implications. Section 2 describes a detailed literature review of the available frameworks in the field of STEM education. In Section 3, the proposed framework is developed by the integration of an existing literature study, and some new suggestions are also given. Finally, the study ends with the conclusions of the study, the study limitations, and the future scope, as described in Section 4.

1.2. Research Questions

Some of the research questions looked at in this research paper include the following:
Q1: What effective learning techniques (i.e., methods in regard to learning how to learn) can be used by teachers to better teach the integrated science (STEM-based) subjects?
Q2: How can these learning techniques (i.e., techniques in regard to learning how to learn) be used in a well-structured framework in order to serve the integration of science strands?

2. Research Methods

This work adheres to the principles of the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) method. According to the assertions of Syafril et al. (2021) [16], such a method promotes transparency while helping to perform a systematic literature review. Further, it features a flow chart that lists the components that are required for study. PRISMA 2020 enables thorough reporting, guarantees that readers can evaluate the suitability of the methodologies utilized, and, in essence, ensures the veracity of a study’s conclusions. The presentation and summary of the studies contained in this approach are conducted in relation to a particular context [17]. PRISMA 2020 is, thus, able to help produce literature that possesses results that can be compared between studies due to this. The PRISMA 2020 flow chart demonstrates how the chosen articles were initially chosen from a wide sample, screened in accordance with the information requirements of the study, how their eligibility fits in, and the inclusion and exclusion criteria employed by the researcher. Researchers can conduct more systematic literature searches by using the PRISMA checklist and suggestion list. The selection of secondary data in this study accounted for the abstract, title, background information or introduction, findings, research methodology, and discussion.

2.1. Eligibility Criteria

The structure, breadth, and translucency of the methodical literature reviews are essential [4]. Constructing eligibility criteria is one of the most pivotal stages to perform properly when trying to conduct a benchmarked methodical literature review. Journals that have been published since 2019 were taken into account in this disquisition, in order to keep the exploration findings as streamlined as possible. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s unexpected onset and the ensuing school closings, educators and educational systems all over the world have made significant efforts to adapt and innovate. Remote learning became widely available in many institutions and educational systems almost overnight. Whatever the results, for varied lengths of time, remote learning became the standard technique of delivering education. Teachers reacted quickly and with excellent support in response to the changes in how lessons were delivered. Thus, it is evident and widely acknowledged that “this crisis has fostered innovation within the STEM education sector,” and the purpose of this article is to, therefore, highlight the research conducted as a result of this paradox. For this reason, the researchers chose to include papers and empirical studies from 2019 to 2022. Due to the lack of current information, the researcher did not use any older research papers. At the same time, publications from non-peer-reviewed sources and those from unscholarly internet platforms were also omitted from the review. Reliability and validity were ensured by only referencing empirical papers.

2.2. Data Sources

Electronic databases, including SCOPUS and SCImago, with high-impact journal articles, were utilized by the researcher. In addition to looking at how the data related to the study’s context, these platforms were investigated accordingly for the reliability of their publications [18]. Data were gathered for the study via a search query that was comprehensive enough to include all of the pertinent literature without leaving out any key papers that are pertinent to the investigation.
Figure 1 explains the process employed by the researcher to select the applicable data sources that will best help the researcher in answering the framed exploration questions. As the original step, applicable journals and papers were uprooted from the Scopus database using STEM-specific keywords. The papers were also filtered using specific keywords similar to STEM education, frame, integrated model, tutoring-learning perspectives, and learning how to learn. The reader can be assured that only open-access papers published between 2019 and 2022 were used in this exploration. Open-access papers were named while keeping in mind the interests of future researchers who wished to probe further on STEM education, its factors, the ways of learning how to learn, and the conception of learning how to learn itself, among others. In order to further enhance the searchability of this exploration, it was decided to exclude the journals published on trusted websites but were in languages other than English, due to the sole reason that English is a universally accepted language, in itself. Likewise, the academic nature of this exploration was saved by simply considering research articles and review articles that suggested a framework for STEM education.
Summary of the included empirical analysis of the selected 19 articles is shown in Table 1 below.

3. Discussion on the Research Questions

Question 1: What effective learning techniques (i.e., methods of learning how to learn) can be used by teachers, in order to teach integrated science (i.e., STEM-based subjects)?
STEM can be a very technical subject to handle, if taken literally. It is always very important to craft methods carefully, in order to ensure the maximum content administration when dealing with STEM-related issues [33]. In order to effectively answer this question, we will need to go through some key methods that one may use to teach STEM to their children. To better keep your learners interested, it could be worthwhile to vary your courses and employ various teaching methods, as these strategies are helpful [34]. The following can be just some of the ways that can be used to effectively teach STEM-based subjects.
Use of Project-Based Learning
This approach encourages students to engage in projects that will help them develop new abilities and put their knowledge to use. They will need to dedicate a great amount of time to study the issue at hand and to come up with a solution. STEM project-based learning can take numerous forms, such as designing an app or creating a model of a bridge. Furthermore, STEM project-based learning necessitates a professional teaching force equipped with the knowledge and skills required to create learning experiences that maximize the student potential [8,35]. As a result, effective STEM PBL requires teachers who are receiving high-quality professional development, in order to learn how to design excellent experiential learning activities [36]. An example of great project-based learning centers on real-world problems, thereby establishing a clear link between what is learned in school and how it applies outside of the classroom. As these problems and issues are authentic, they are complex and messy, which renders it essential for students to draw on knowledge from multiple disciplines and expertise in a variety of fields [2]. When considering these problems, innovators in our economy do not limit themselves to one area; they investigate and draw from “scientific, mathematical, artistic, or social elements” as they work, in order to develop solutions [27].
Use of Problem-Based Learning
Problem-based learning is a student-centered approach in which students learn about a subject by working in groups to solve an open-ended problem. This problem is what drives the motivation and the learning [6]. There are some similarities between this approach and project-based learning, but the main distinction is that the students here must analyze and assess an issue that is given to them. As there is typically more than one correct solution to an issue, this calls for a high level of thought. This strategy fosters leadership, collaboration, and creativity. Problem-based learning is providing students with new ways to learn STEM subjects [32,34,35]. It is critical to provide students with the fundamental understanding and tools of problem-based learning with the goal and optimism of producing more skilled workers in STEM fields. Asking one’s pupils to develop their own business proposals in order to address a societal need is an illustration of PBL [27].
Use of Inquiry-Based Learning
Students are encouraged to pore over the material and submit as many questions as they prefer. This is performed in this way due to the fact that the major goal of inquiry-based learning is to emphasize the student’s role in the learning process. Furthermore, the abilities of critical thinking, questioning, and problem-solving are all fostered through this type of learning. Due to the fact that it will be student led, the pupils will have to choose the questions they wish to pursue [22,37]. It is the responsibility of the teacher to foster inquiry and encourage reflection. Inquiry-based learning begins with questions derived from children’s and young people’s everyday experiences. Children are constantly observing the phenomena of their surroundings and daily lives [9,38,39]. They describe, contrast, and interpret their experiences. This is a great method of learning as it encourages the children to ask questions and quench their curiosity. Inquiry-based STEAM learning mirrors the processes and thinking that scientists, engineers, and innovators use in the real world; thus, it is so much more than merely hands-on learning. An inquiry-based STEAM classroom combines terminology and content learning with active processes. Students can elaborate on concepts and processes, as well as evaluate or assess their understandings in light of available pieces of evidence [14].
The above techniques can only serve their purpose if they are used in accordance with the perspectives of science. Teaching science, especially at the higher grade levels, requires a somewhat different approach than the one we always imagine. In order to effectively use the techniques mentioned above and enable them to serve their intended purpose, the techniques must be applied in a typical science learning model. Table 2 shows the models that include the following steps with examples of topics in each subject:
Question 2: How can these learning techniques (i.e., techniques of learning how to learn) be used in a well-structured framework, in order to serve the integration of various strands of science? For example, how can they serve the integration of chemistry with physics, or the integration of biology with physics?
Approaches to the Curriculum Integration
A multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approach to curriculum integration is described by Ruto [40] who made it clear that “one position is not superior to another; rather, different approaches are more appropriate than others, according to the context in which they are used”.
A theme or current issue is frequently used in multidisciplinary approaches to connect disparate academic areas. A multidisciplinary approach would identify each discipline within the curriculum [12,27]. This strategy could be used in a single classroom or through curricular alignment in classes covering many topic areas. Interdisciplinary approaches span subject boundaries, emphasize interdisciplinary content and skills, and connect disciplines beyond a single theme or concern. As a result, it would be challenging to clearly discern between each discipline. Real-world problems, not disparate topic areas, are the emphasis of transdisciplinary approaches, which connect social, political, economic, international, and environmental concerns [41]. Similar to the research on curriculum integration, integrated STEM has been divided into disciplinary and transdisciplinary methods as shown in Table 3 below [42].
It is both within and between fields of STEM that the integration of knowledge must be made explicit. The engineering design method is widely used in STEM education. There are different variations of this approach, but they all include students first evaluating their solutions, then trying to improve them [43]. As it necessitates persistence, as well as the understanding that solutions can always be improved upon, this revision process is crucial to STEM; this is because STEM problems can be solved in a variety of ways. The function of the instructor in this type of STEM instruction is described via STEM pedagogy [27,37].
STEAM: Integrating with the Arts
There have been certain STEM approaches that were developed for the purposes of integrating the arts, in order to provide pupils with equal access to STEM content. This paper specifically describes an analysis of curricula that incorporate the arts and sciences, in order to inform the more general fields of STEM and STEAM education [12]. There must be an acknowledgement that different educational groups may have different definitions for the terms of science, art, STEM, and STEAM. In order to provide children with more fair learning opportunities, we must specifically integrate the arts with inquiry-based teaching strategies and to examine the integration patterns. Another approach that allows students to explore multiple content areas at the same time is through arts integration [44]. Arts integration involves students learning any type of subject matter through the arts. This implies that any subject could be taught by relating it to a standard in the arts that is organically connected. Students have more opportunity to share their thoughts with their peers through art, in particular, using all of their linguistic and semiotic resources for meaning-making [18,34]. Additionally, employing arts-based solutions involves students in the creative process, which helps students learn new languages and lower their affective filters [31]. Through the use of the arts, scientific instruction enables students to engage with the subject in ways that go beyond what is typically regarded as “academic” or “acceptable” in a science classroom.
Integration by the Application of Advanced Technology
In order to help students assess their learning progress, teachers in a variety of subjects, including science, math, languages, etc., have recently been interested in alternative learning methodologies, as opposed to traditional activities [45]. This process was made worse during the COVID-19 period, when teachers had numerous difficulties in addressing students’ needs for participation in face-to-face events when it was not possible. This was in addition to needing to motivate and engage the students in their learning [4,11]. Following this period of becoming familiar with online learning and assessment, it was necessary to go back to the old educational strategies—which needed to be improved by implementing new teaching strategies—and combining those developed in online activities with those related to addressing the needs of students who were neglected. These included teamwork, reflection, face-to-face project execution, STEM education involvement, technological integration in all activities, and the need to speed up learning [18,27]. Once switching back to face-to-face interactions, the incorporation of computational thinking in educational activities can still help to address these types of student needs.
Integration using the Central Project Approach
The central project approach is a teacher-led method that revolves a central activity around a teacher, or team of teachers, integrating the STEM topics. The teaching and learning processes can often take place at two levels when using the central project approach [24,46]. Direct instruction is combined with group work, integrated problem-solving, and indirect learning episodes. However, the students are still “taught” in distinct discipline-based groups in the direct teaching segment. This gives the teacher the assurance that particular areas of important information are covered by the pupils and ensures that certain key concepts and ideas are addressed by the students [27]. The students are then exposed to indirect learning episodes during this process when they work in small groups to investigate and create original designs that expand on their notions in response to genuine design difficulties [47]. The students are required to write down their thoughts collectively and attempt to connect them to the knowledge they are gaining in each of their direct teaching lessons. They are urged to discuss what they have learned and thought about in their many lessons, as well as to strive to combine them, in order to synthesize their knowledge [10].

4. Suggestions and Implications from the Study

4.1. Suggesting a New Framework

There is no specified methodology that can improve the STEM educations in one step. It is a continuous process that requires the multi concept integration. Here, from the above literature analysis, is a set of four steps that are defined to improve the teaching effectiveness of STEM education.
Step 1:
Understanding the Core Difference between Learning and Teaching
Traditional education focuses on teaching, rather than learning. It incorrectly assumes that for every ounce of teaching, there is an ounce of learning by those who are taught. In Table 4, there is a concise comparison that differentiate between these two concepts. Students should be provided with a wide range of STEAM learning options from which to choose or experiment during the educational process. They do not have to learn everything in the same way [35]. Figure 2 shows a clear structure of how they should learn from an early age that learning how to learn is largely their responsibility.
Teaching and learning are important processes that are linked to the acquisition of knowledge, values, traditions, skills, behaviors, etc. Furthermore, these two processes are at opposite ends of the knowledge acquisition process [32,48].
Step 2:
Student-Centered Learning
Student-centered learning (SCL) allows students to choose two things: what they learn and how they learn it. This concept is also known as personalized learning, at times. SCL, as opposed to teacher-centered approaches, empowers students to be leaders and decision-makers in their own learning. Students conduct their own research, develop a solution, present their findings to teachers and community members, and assess their own progress as they go [3,49]. Teachers assist in guiding this process, but students are responsible for the content, timing, and motivation. Providing students with introductory autonomous assignments and assisting them in setting goals for those assignments are two of the most important steps to take in implementing SCL effectively [41]. Every student is different, especially for the students for whom the current tools and suggestions are not working; thus, all kids excel at a high level. Student-centered learning allows students to choose what they learn and how they learn it [50]. This concept is also known, at times, as personalized learning. SCL, as opposed to teacher-centered approaches, empowers students to be leaders and decision-makers in their own learning [23]. Students conduct their own research, develop a solution, present their findings to teachers and community members, and assess their own progress as they go. Teachers assist in guiding this process, but students are responsible for the content, timing, and motivation. Giving students introductory autonomous assignments and assisting them in setting goals for those assignments are two of the most important steps to take in implementing SCL.
Step 3:
Constructive Alignment between Learning Roles
In Figure 3, the relationship between Teaching, Assessment and Learning outcomes is constructed as follows:
Constructive alignment is a teaching design principle in which the learner’s learning outcomes are clearly stated ahead of time. The key to implementing the constructive alignment principle is to include learning activities that increase the learner’s chances of achieving the desired outcomes, as well as assessment tasks that clearly demonstrate how well the learner achieves those outcomes [37]. Alignment occurs when the learning activities assigned by the teacher assist the students in developing the knowledge, skills, and understanding that is intended for the unit and measured by the teacher assessment [12]. A unit that is constructively aligned capitalizes on the powerful effect that assessment has on the students’ learning experiences. If assessment drives student learning, students are more likely to achieve the desired outcomes if the assessment is aligned with intentions [32]. The constructive alignment framework is represented in a university’s recommended approach to unit design [48]:
  • Determine the desired learning outcomes;
  • Create assessment tasks to assess the achievement of learning outcomes;
  • Plan learning activities that will allow students to develop the skills, knowledge, and understandings outlined in the intended learning outcomes, which will be assessed;
  • Select the necessary content (topics/examples/resources/materials) to support the learning activities.
Step 4:
Professional Development
When new standards are implemented and new national educational initiatives emerge, professional development (PD) is consistently used as an agency in which to educate teachers and effect change in their practices. Current national and local educational goals and initiatives are centered on engaging more students in STEM learning and activities in the hopes that they will persist in STEM coursework and career pathways to meet STEM job demands, thereby advancing societal STEM literacy [34,51]. Teachers must be properly introduced to the evolving nuances of the STEM reform movement within their subject area, as well as become acquainted with changes in other related subjects. The list is not exhaustive, the prevailing findings are that effective PD (a) focuses on teachers’ understanding of the content and teaching methods through active learning; (b) models effective practices that are consistent with the learning agency’s previous and future teaching goals; and (c) is sustained and ongoing with coaching or expert support [10]. The teacher’s professional development dominates the landscape and has a proven track record of changing teachers’ instructional practices and improving student achievement [31,51]. Some argue, however, that STEM education should be focused on “an assemblage of practices and processes that transcend disciplinary lines and from which knowledge and learning of a specific kind emerges.” While this definition of STEM education is more in line with the interdisciplinary nature of problem solving and innovative thinking that various corporate and government sectors profess a strong need for, designing professional development for teachers to have authentic STEM experiences is a territory educational trainers and researchers have yet to explore [37].

4.2. Implication of the Study

The goal of this research is to build and assess a model of the intricate links and pathways between social, motivational, and instructional components that support middle school students’ job orientation and STEM learning. Due to its emphasis on identifying variables that influence both academic achievement and career preferences, social cognitive career theory served as this study’s theoretical foundation. Young people’s interest in STEM, their sense of self-efficacy, and their aspirations for their careers were the primary factors investigated (i.e., the results of particular activities) [12,18]. This study also looked at the use of problem-solving learning approaches, and the influence of past knowledge on learning. This was in addition to the support that participants’ friends, families, and informal educators had on them. STEM education is a teaching approach that integrates science, technology, engineering, and math. The arts have the “potential to expand the limitations of STEM education and application,” according to the STEM Education Guide, which also includes STEAM. The Institution for Art Integration and STEAM claim that the goals of STEAM are to foster student debate and problem-solving, while simultaneously fostering the development of practical skills and a love of teamwork. Exploratory, expand, engage, and assess are the stages of the suggested framework for STEM learning that are used in classrooms. Teachers serve as mentors and facilitators for students as they apply STEM learning in order to develop their critical thinking skills. The findings suggest that these constructs can explain a large portion of the students’ pathways to STEM careers and learning, emphasizing the importance of youth STEM interest. Being a scientist is a high-status job that comes with a respectable personal income and social standing. Additionally, science has historically adhered to a standard that is distinct from other high-status professions, i.e., in universalism. This suggests that the best way to judge a scientist’s work is to apply universalistic (or meritocratic) standards, rather than functionally irrelevant variables, such as gender, color, national origin, or affiliation with a particular religion. This suggests that STEM education may be more universalistic than non-STEM education, in the sense that a student’s performance may be assessed more objectively in a STEM topic than in a non-STEM one. If so, STEM education can be seen as a means of promoting individual social mobility, enabling those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed through objectively measurable standards that are recognized by STEM educators. In fact, this hypothesis has been put forth to explain why Asian Americans are overrepresented in science and engineering since World War II [23,24]. However, the general education system’s dynamics include STEM education. A significant amount of economic literature, which has grown significantly in recent decades (especially for the highly educated), sees education as a kind of human capital that produces significant economic benefits. STEM education generally commands a premium in the labor market, despite the fact that basic scientists’ salaries have stagnated in recent years. However, a substantial body of sociological research on educational stratification shows that social factors, such as race and ethnicity, family structure, socioeconomic status of the family, and family size have a big impact on educational attainment [30]. Therefore, the study of STEM is very important in analyzing the scientific gaps in our education system. By evaluating the STEM systems, education reforms are well scrutinized; thus any necessary inputs are well sought after. STEM has already been highly emphasized in various education reforms in various countries in the world, including the United States of America, China, Japan, and a number of European countries. As such, its fruits have been realized [22]. Some of the fruits of STEM incorporation into the education system is an increased number of new innovations, such as the TESLA technology and more innovative ideas in the Silicon Valley of California. Moreover, Reed [52] stressed that technology education must continue to be developed on the pillars that characterize discipline, in terms of content and must maintain its relevance as a STEM discipline. There is also a general feeling that the implementation of the STEM program at schools that have been selected to initiate implementation will be negatively impacted, due to the high cost of implementing the program. The state of the national economy post-COVID-19 will not be stable and thus will not have the muscle to fully support these fields. It is also suggested that donor funding to support STEM implementation may decline as donor countries are also not immune from the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Conclusions

5.1. A Brief Conclusion on the STEM Framework

When creating new instructional tools for students, these insights will assist educational designers in making sensible, research-based judgments. Additionally, the impact of different learning approaches on STEM learning will help with creating clarity to educators, researchers, and decision-makers [4]. Planning what is likely to be successful in current projects can be made easier for educators and researchers by there being an awareness of the implementation-related approach aspects that have contributed to favorable impacts. On this note, the field of science education will be significantly impacted by these discoveries in numerous ways [23]. This study demonstrates that a combination approach can significantly improve students’ learning and raising their performance. According to the published research, educating students’ critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills, is essential in preparing them for the 21st century. Student needs must be taken into consideration due to the emphasis on STEM education as a means of ensuring future success. The authors argue that children have greater access to STEM achievement by including the arts in STEM education, turning the approach into STEAM. Therefore, the authors propose a new model to show how STEM education should be implemented in the classroom [32]. The general goals are explained below:
  • To teach problem-solving skills in a scientific context: In addition to learning how to solve a clearly defined scientific problem, students should have the opportunity to spot anomalies and inconsistencies in poorly structured problems. As a result, they will be encouraged to recognize problems more clearly, which is a skill that is crucial for problem solving. All of these classroom exercises will support the students’ creative thinking and problem-solving abilities. They may offer original answers to pressing issues or create a new way of thinking about the matter (e.g., through problem stories about car speed, body temperature, genetic probability, and chemistry) [53];
  • To generalize problem-solving techniques through exercise practice: A problem’s nature will frequently dictate the appropriate kind of solution to use. Calculate, simplify, use an equation, create a model, diagram, table or chart, or work backwards, are some common methods for addressing problems. Students may probably experience periods of frustration or uncertainty as they learn how to solve problems creatively [2,10];
  • To increase the student motivation by incorporating art and musical elements into the lesson: Visual arts, social studies, history, the fine arts, music, and physical arts are all examples of “Art” in STEAM. As well as their use in fostering flexibility, adaptability, productivity, responsibility, and innovation—all necessary qualities for a successful career in any field of study—art is about harnessing creativity and imagination, in order to advance the development of STEM’s core competencies. The learner is viewed as an individual in the music achievement motivation model, with particular attribution and self-perception traits. Music-related activities are typically group-focused. It is not inconsistent with the model to sacrifice oneself for the good of the greater whole (e.g., visual outlines, frequencies, and pitches of sounds);
  • To encourage flexibility in using different forms of technology whenever necessary (e.g., iPad, apps, calculator, PowerPoint): Phones and other technologies are frequently used in day to day life. As such, it seems to make sense that learning how to use them and to make the most of what they can do should begin in schools, in order to prepare students for their future in a technologically advanced world. You might ask students to use their phones, in order to conduct research or to include online learning tools in the class [3];
  • To always establish a connection with a real-world example: Making links between what is being taught in the classroom and what is happening in the real world and increasing student awareness of global issues, are only two benefits of incorporating current events into the classroom. Students who are encouraged to follow the latest news acquire a more responsible outlook and are better equipped to function in a globalized and multi-cultural economy, due to the fact that they gain access to a wide range of cultural, social, and political perspectives they may otherwise have not been exposed to [28].
The author’s framework for a problem-solving approach provides teachers with a useful foundation for integrated STEM teaching, while providing students with enough real-world experience [10]. The authors predict that students will have the knowledge and skills needed to deal with difficult real-world situations. While there are many reasons that contribute to the success of STEM education, teacher teaching methods that encourage growth are the most important element of this transition. This is because it depends on the teacher’s skill level, understanding, and association with STEM education [29,46]. More help will be needed for teachers in the form of frameworks, professional development, material development, etc. The training and retraining, research, monitoring, and evaluation of STEM education are all guided by theoretical frameworks, such as STEME. Nonetheless, most importantly, the science technology engineering math environment (STEME) theoretical framework fosters among stakeholders a common understanding of the purpose and spirit of STEM education [11].

5.2. Limitation and Future Scope

We attempted to systematically review the methodology for the first time within this study. Further, the lessons we learnt from it will help us move forward with other research projects. While these materials may be helpful to practitioners, we conducted this study from the standpoint of an empirical researcher. As such, we chose to eliminate from this systematic review, any papers that were teacher reflective accounts [9]. We strictly focused on investigating the experimental applications of the funds of the knowledge paradigm, although practitioners may learn more by reading the reflective perspectives. In order to separate platform and content-related variables, if the study were to be repeated, we would need to specify newly developed or modified versions of currently available technologies that could use the same material across all experimental technological platforms [12]. Only journals that were included in the SSCI database’s index were used to review the articles for this study. In regard to the field, articles published in periodicals with indexes in the Scopus database were crucial. This study only includes experimental investigations that were written up as articles. However, the study can be extended toward the other types of scholarly articles. One can extend the study to investigate certain other sample groups including preschool, special educational needs children, and vocational training, which were not included in these studies on STEM education.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, O.A.K. and Y.A.; methodology, O.A.K.; software, A.A.D.; validation, O.A.K. and A.A.D.; formal analysis, O.A.K.; investigation, Y.A.; resources, O.A.K.; data curation, O.A.K.; writing—original draft preparation, A.A.D.; writing—review and editing, O.A.K.; visualization, Y.A.; supervision, O.A.K.; project administration, O.A.K. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Figure 1. Flow diagram showing how the data sources were selected.
Figure 1. Flow diagram showing how the data sources were selected.
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Figure 2. Steps for the suggested STEM framework.
Figure 2. Steps for the suggested STEM framework.
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Figure 3. Constructive alignment between learning roles.
Figure 3. Constructive alignment between learning roles.
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Table 1. Empirical Analysis of the Selected Articles for the STEM Framework.
Table 1. Empirical Analysis of the Selected Articles for the STEM Framework.
ReferenceMethodPurpose of StudySample GroupTools UsedSummary Points
[19]Mostly utilized interviews and hypothesesThis research paper was a case study on precision education (PE) and STEM learning in a school using the Taiwan adaptive learning platform (TALP), established by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan.A total of 76 students from a 5th grade elementary school Adaptive learning,
digital tools, online systems, and innovative pedagogical tools
The case study also showed that incorporating physical education into the classroom could have a good impact. In response, the teachers said that TALP may improve both their students’ learning, as well as their own teaching. PE should be conducted in innovative or expanded ways that utilize the advantage of digital technology. In order for teachers to be able to use digital technology or physical activity, in order to enhance their STEM teaching, they should receive professional development.
[20]Experimental research, design, and observationThis paper is mainly a social cognitive perspective on gender disparities in self-efficacy, interest,
and aspirations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
A total of 3020 secondary school students The social cognitive theory structural equation modeling (SEM), confirmatory factor analysis, the latent moderated structural equation modeling (LMS) approach, bootstrapping analysis, hypothesized sequential mediation modelIt is possible for a girl to access STEM education
through curriculum enrichment and out-of-school time programs, in order to bridge the gender gap in STEM.
[3]Online surveys and the use of questionnaires. The paper was mostly focused on assessing and applying the benchmarking learning outcomes of
robotics-enabled STEM education.
Middle school mathematics and science teachersBenchmarking,
pedagogical tools, learning tools, robotic devices, actuators, sensor systems, tangible and visible robotic tools, and kinesthetic learning tools
When utilizing robotics knowledge, one is able to effectively integrate STEM education with a great deal of ease.
[21]Systematic literature reviewThis journal tends to demonstrate a completely different picture of how the STEM workforce could be. The journal also advised that persistence within the field can be painted by using on-the-job skill needs rather than occupational titles.-On-the-job expertise, skills-related training, and work-related trainingSTEM learning in schools can be achieved, not only by using the direct stakeholders, but also by involving every other person from any other field that may be able to help.
[22]Use of questionnaires and open interviewsThe study project explored the possible ways of building a sustainable model of integrated STEM education, such as investigating secondary school STEM classes after an integrated STEM project.-A twenty-first century skills survey, instructional media, teachers and researchers advancing integrated lessons in STEM (TRAILS), workshops, class observations, 21st century skills pre- and post-surveys, and the D-BAIT knowledge testIn regard to an effective STEM integration in secondary schools, the learners must be actively involved. The secondary school learners are the main stakeholders in the STEM integration process whose contribution cannot and should not be ignored, at all.
[23]Descriptive survey methodThe research paper explored, in depth, the trends and exemplary practices of STEM teacher professional
development programs in K-12 contexts. This paper was a systematic review of the empirical studies.
-Systematic review and pedagogical toolsSTEM teachers are important knowledge intermediaries and their effectiveness can have a direct impact on students’ learning processes and knowledge acquisition. Worldwide, nations have introduced STEM teacher professional development (TPD) programs to ensure the caliber of STEM training remains high. Knowing how these programs have been implemented and what can be inferred from them is crucial.
[24]Questionnaires and interviews This study explored the feasibility of the question “Does the implementation of literacy into STEM curriculum impact students’
STEM learning?”.
One graduate and
one undergraduate student
A cross-curricular approachImplementing literacy into the STEM curriculum directly impacts how quickly the learners can absorb STEM knowledge, unlike in the current case where the learners are simply hearing about STEM issues from a ‘distance’.
[10]Descriptive survey methodThis research paper explored various ways in which a survey can be used to measure teachers’ understanding of STEM through a study dubbed: “Enhancing teachers’ STEM understanding through
observation, discussion and reflection”.
A total of 82 teachers who attained math, science, and technology training.Observation–discussion–reflection (ODR) framework, questionnaire, interview protocol, and observation recording tableThe best way to properly teach STEM in schools is by educating the teachers in the same manner first. The teachers are the sole engineers in a given subject matter and, therefore, educating them before the learners will be the fastest way of achieving STEM goals.
[25]Systematic literature reviewThe study highlights the various factors influencing student satisfaction toward STEM
education, i.e., it is an exploratory study using structural
equation modeling.
A total of 174 High school studentsImplementation training toolsVarious factors affect the learners’ perception on STEM consumption. The environment in which the learner is learning will affect how quickly they digest the knowledge being taught. The attitude of the learner will also determine how much the learner will absorb from the teacher at all given times, due to the fact that the attitude determines how much the student gains from a particular learning session.
[26]Qualitative research and online participant observationThis research paper is mainly a handbook of research
on science teacher
education, which tends to explore the best ways of administering STEM content to learners without making it look hard as it can be perceived.
Open-ended sample groupVirtual information gatheringResults showed that STEM learning can actually be cheaper than what it is mostly perceived as. If better mechanisms are devised for the purposes of delivering better ways of administering the STEM content, then the whole experience can be soothing.
[27]Systematic literature reviewThe study in this report explored several integrated STEM approaches and partnerships. i.e., what to do for more
effective teams in informal settings, in order to realize the maximum results from STEM integration in education.
A total of nine undergraduate students
Effective collaborationThe easiest way to realize the original dreams of STEM in education is to bring everybody who may matter into action. When making decisions in STEM education, it is very important to take into account every input, in order to quickly realize the results.
[28]Informal mini-interviews (collegiate discussion) and
reflexivity (reflection of the researchers’ experiences)
The study explored the various ways in which STEM integration can help reduce environmental pollution through environmental virtual-interactive-based education
and learning models for the purposes of STEM motivation.
Secondary school studentsSimulation and visualizationPollution, one of the current main environmental concerns, can be reduced or simply eradicated by incorporating STEM-based knowledge in the war against environmental degradation.
[29]Survey This research paper explored the different ways of rethinking the ideology of using digital games to increase
individual interest in STEM.
-21st century pedagogyComputer games, such as parking simulation, can increase individual interest in STEM-related discoveries. The more one thinks in the video game mode the more interest in STEM is aroused.
[30]Systematic review/meta-analysisThis research examined the teachers’ perceptions of their own efficacy and their involvement in STEM education in Fablabs and Makerspaces. This is examined in relation to teaching in ILEs and utilizing high-tech tools. Flanders (Belgium) and Sweden served as the study’s two locations. We contrast the variations in the instructors’ performance, based on their nationality, gender, and number of years of teaching experience.A total of 347 secondary school teachersSelf-efficacyThere is a big need for teachers to actively involve themselves in STEM learning as much as an institution’s initiative may be. The active involvement in the STEM implementation by teachers automatically translates the same onto the learners.
[31]Experimental research designThis research paper highlighted the exploration of continuous learning
intention in STEAM education through attitude,
motivation, and cognitive load.
Elementary and university studentsEmpirical experimentThe research discovered that, in STEM learning, one should maximally utilize their attitude, intrinsic motivations, and their cognitive load, in order to effectively obtain knowledge in STEM fields.
[12]Systematic reviewThis study explored the best ways of integrating the arts with STEM and leading
with STEAM, in order to increase science learning
with equity for emerging bilingual learners
in the United States.
-Integration orderA significant learning opportunity for EB pupils is provided by the integration pattern of leading with STEAM and following with STEM, which also enhances parity in learning chances for EB and EF scientific learners. In classrooms with high fidelity implementation, EB and EF children gain equivalent and substantial benefits.
[26]Qualitative research
interviews (expert interviews)
This research explored the diverse ways of incorporating immersive learning
into biomedical engineering laboratories while utilizing
virtual reality media.
Self-reported open-ended samplesRemote learningBio-medical laboratories require immersive learning when using artificial intelligence (AI).
[32]Qualitative research (thematic analysis)This research investigated the various ways in which the undergraduate STEM instructors (lecturers) were
leveraging student thinking.
Undergraduate studentsStudent-centered instructionThe students’ attitude in STEM learning is directly a product of their professors’ way of thinking, perspective, and talk regarding STEM learning.
[9]Case studyThe research was mostly centered on explaining the adversarial vulnerability with a data
sparsity hypothesis in regard to STEM.
-Training frameworkData from STEM experiments should be kept securely for future refence.
Table 2. Techniques of learning how to learn.
Table 2. Techniques of learning how to learn.
STEM SubjectsProject-Based LearningProblem-Based LearningInquiry-Based Learning
ChemistryMaking Polymer Bouncy BallsHow To Solve Food Digestion Problems for InfantsWhy do bones become hard?
PhysicsMaking a Floating MagnetHow To Solve the Global Warming ProblemWhat ancient stories can help us understand energy systems?
BiologyRaising a ButterflyHow To Multiply Endangered SpeciesHow can we increase the growth rate of broiler chicks?
ICTMaking a Weather Forecasting SystemHow To Solve Low-Speed InternetWhat application features are good for a robbery detection application?
MathematicsMaking a Clock Out of Paper PlatesHow To Make Routine Budgets (Monthly)How can math help countries to cooperate?
Table 3. Curriculum integration types.
Table 3. Curriculum integration types.
Content learned in separate disciplinary classroomsContent learned separately but connected through a common theme.Focus on interdisciplinary content and practices from two or more disciplines connected through a common theme or problem.Content from two or more disciplines are applied to real-world problems, with the learning focus on the real-world problem.
Traditional concept of focusing on only one subjectAn approach to water could be water resource management.
A variety of disciplines, including geography, architecture, and the political and social sciences would work together in order to develop an appropriate water solution for the town, while remaining within the purview of their respective disciplines.
Water understanding would incorporate perspectives from various disciplines. For example, the biochemistry of water would involve how the combination of two molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen has a specific reaction in nature with other substances, or how its reactions aid in the survival of living beings.
A biophysical explanation would most likely be how the blood in the body applies a specific pressure due to its fluid nature, etc.
In this approach, the physics of resonance would be used to comprehend the tonal quality of sound expressed by a symphony musician.
The concept of refraction from physics would converge with an artist’s understanding of representing a scene that includes a body of water.
In this way, understanding nature across disciplines benefits both.
Table 4. Understanding the Concept of Learning.
Table 4. Understanding the Concept of Learning.
  • Delivering the knowledge;
  • May or may not be effective learning;
  • Dealing with the quantity of teaching;
  • Output based;
  • Passive teaching in teaching.
  • Obtaining knowledge;
  • Dealing with quality of teaching;
  • Outcome based;
  • Active teaching in the classroom.
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