Asee peer logo

A Scaffold and Competency-Based Learning Approach to Innovation-Related Thinking Frameworks

Download Paper |


2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation Division Technical Session 4

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Lisa Bosman Purdue University

visit author page

Dr. Bosman is an Assistant Professor in Technology Leadership and Innovation and the Program Coordinator for Transdisciplinary Studies in Technology. Her STEM education research interests include entrepreneurial mindset, renewable energy, competency-based learning, self-regulated learning, transdisciplinary education, civic engagement, and faculty professional development. She spent the first part of her career working as a manufacturing engineer for world-class companies including Harley-Davidson, John Deere, and Oshkosh Defense and continues to provide workforce development consulting within this area.

visit author page


Sandhya Arumugam Purdue University

visit author page

Sandhya Arumugam received her Bachelor of Engineering (B.E) in Electronics and Communication Engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy, India in 2014. She worked at HP Inc as a software developer for printer products for 2 years. She is currently pursuing her M.S. in Engineering Technology and is also a Graduate Research Assistant in the department of Technology Leadership and Innovation, Purdue University, USA. Her current interests are in Innovative practices for Higher Education and Interdisciplinary education.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Over the past several years, interest in competency-based education has steadily increased particularly in relation to vocational education, which prepares individuals for careers requiring specific craft, trade, or technical skills. In these cases, competencies are commonly “obtained and demonstrated” through distance learning by watching short videos, completing assignments, and passing online assessments demonstrating student ability to accomplish a series of learning objectives. This approach to competency-based education ensures students are able to master "doing" but provides little emphasis on "thinking." As such, little is known about how to incorporate competency-based education into traditional and professional bachelor degree programs such as engineering, which requires a greater focus on knowledge and skill integration. The purpose of this paper is to highlight a new approach to learning that goes beyond the proverbial "checking boxes" to provide an approach for demonstrating the integration of abilities and reflection. This innovative and experimental approach offers three unique attributes. First, it is competency-based in that students are required to demonstrate mastery of meeting core innovative competencies through submission of an artifact (“transdisciplinary-doing”) and reflection (“transdisciplinary-thinking”). Second, it is transdisciplinary in that learning experiences integrate the humanities into engineering, design, and technology skill sets. Finally, it is scaffold in that instruction of each of the four modules builds on the other, further enhancing and grounding the learning experience. This paper will explain our unique yet standardized approach through a semester-long course introducing engineering and technology students to innovation-related frameworks as an immersive approach to increase deeper transdisciplinary thinking through innovation. This funnel method is intentionally applied to guide students from (a) System’s Thinking - big picture, holistic perspective to (b) Design Thinking - human-centered approach to problem solving to (c) Problem-Market Fit Analysis – value proposition identification, connecting customer needs to features of the product bundle to (d) Business Model Development – identifying and evaluating key abilities required to support bringing a new product to market. This funnel down innovation approach assists students in narrowing their scope and, at the same time, offers them a continuous push towards transdisciplinary doing and thinking.

Bosman, L., & Arumugam, S. (2019, June), A Scaffold and Competency-Based Learning Approach to Innovation-Related Thinking Frameworks Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--31989

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015