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A Problem-based Learning Framework to Assess and Develop Soft Skills in a Linear Programming Course

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Industrial Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.86.1 - 26.86.16



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Paper Authors


Heriberto Garcia-Reyes Tecnologico de Monterrey

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Heriberto Garcia is a Professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Monterrey. He received his B. Sc. on Mechanical Engineering and M. Sc. on Industrial Engineering degrees from the Tecnologico de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico). He is PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Florida International University. Professor Garcia is coauthor of the book “Simulacion y analisis de sistemas con ProModel” published in Spanish; he has published papers related to teaching strategies, supply chain frameworks and educational challenges in several conference and journals.

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Cesia de la Garza Garza

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Cesia L. De-La-Garza-Garza is Teaching Assistant in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Campus Monterrey. She received her B. Sc. on Industrial and Systems Engineering from the Tecnologico de Monterrey (Monterrey, Mexico). She has participated as Junior Consultant in projects related to productivity, process modeling, lean manufacturing implementations and strategic planning. She has presented several works in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference related to teaching strategies and the use of Problem-based Learning in engineering courses.

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A Problem Based Learning Framework to Assess and Develop Soft Skills in a Linear Programming CourseNowadays the industry requires a new kind of professional engineers. They should be able to dealwith the challenge of globalization and continuous advances in their professional field. Currentstudents are required to acquire skills related to problem solving and communication, creative andcritical thinking, group management and leadership besides of the traditional knowledge ofmathematical modeling. Most of the Industrial Engineering curriculums include at least a courserelated to mathematical modeling such as a linear programming course. Due to the amount oftopics that could be included in such course, typically there are many problem solution methodscompeting for the course time against the modeling development skill required by the students toformulate a problem. Therefore an instructor for this kind of course has to decide the lecturingscope of the course whether the mathematical concepts related to the solution of a linear model orthe modeling focus. Additionally, this course could be the first one that challenges the student tomodel a problem from a systemic point of view. On the other hand, current trends in highereducation make more complex the learning process to learners and instructors. This complexitydemands the commitment of the learners in a dynamic role in the knowledge acquisition process.Every learner is motivated to enter in proactive participation experience through a variety ofprocesses, alternating from self-directed learning to group discussion to peer teaching to teacherguidance. A useful way to understand and implement complex process is the use of frameworksas roadmap of building blocks. In education frameworks one of these elements might be theincorporation of active learning events such as Problem Based-Learning activities. This workpresent a framework to cover formulation, solution and sensitivity analysis through a set ofproblem based learning activities in a linear programming course. The proposal provides asequence of PBL activities to incrementally increase the complexity of the problems to be solved,resulting not only in the development of skills to use linear programming as modeling and decisionmaking tool but the environment to improve personal skills such as team work, oralcommunication, written communication, citizenship and self-learning in the participants. Theframework was used to design a course offered during the 2011, 2012 and 2013. Results obtainedshown the benefits in the student’s domain of the course concepts, the assessment results of softskill activities and the improvement on the grades compared with previous semesters.

Garcia-Reyes, H., & Garza, C. D. L. G. (2015, June), A Problem-based Learning Framework to Assess and Develop Soft Skills in a Linear Programming Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23427

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