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Beyond the Technical: Developing Lifelong Learning and Metacognition for the Engineering Workplace

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Professional Development and Lifelong Learning

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

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Paper Authors


Rose M. Marra Ph.D. University of Missouri

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Rose M. Marra is a Professor of Learning Technologies at the University of Missouri. She is PI of the NSF-funded Supporting Collaboration in Engineering Education, and has studied and published on engineering education, women and minorities in STEM, online learning and assessment. Marra holds a PhD. in Educational Leadership and Innovation and worked as a software engineer before entering academe.

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So Mi Kim University of Missouri

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Dr. So Mi Kim completed her doctoral degree at the University of Georgia, Learning, Design, and Technology program. Before that, she had worked for the Korean Government in nation-wide ICT integration projects to K-12 schools over 10 years. She specializes in inquiry/ critical information-based problem solving in technology-enhanced learning environments (e.g., OER, social media, games, and augmented reality).

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Carolyn Plumb Montana State University

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Carolyn Plumb is the recently retired Director of Educational Innovation and Strategic Projects in the College of Engineering at Montana State University (MSU). Plumb has been involved in engineering education and program evaluation for over 25 years, and she continues to work on externally funded projects relating to engineering education.

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Douglas J. Hacker University of Utah

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Dr. Hacker is a full professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and participates in both the Learning Sciences Program and the Reading and Literacy Program. Prior to receiving his Ph. D. in educational psychology from the University of Washington in 1994, Dr. Hacker worked as a high school science and math teacher and then as a school counselor. From 1994 to 1999, Dr. Hacker was an assistant/associate professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Research at The University of Memphis. During those years, he worked in the areas of reading and writing processes, metacognition, self-regulated learning, teacher education, and school and program evaluation. Dr. Hacker moved to the University of Utah in 1999 and has continued his research in the previous areas and has added to them research in the area of the detection of deception. Also at the University of Utah, he served as chair of the Teaching and Learning Department. His publications have appeared in the Journal of Educational Psychology, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, and Journal of Experimental Education. At both universities, Dr. Hacker has maintained a strong commitment to work in elementary and middle schools, working directly with teachers by providing professional development in reading and writing instruction. Since 1994, Dr. Hacker has been either the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on grants totaling $2,048,960. He has served as an editorial board member for the Journal of Educational Psychology, Metacognition and Learning, and Frontiers of Educational Psychology. He is a former Associate Editor for the Journal of Educational Psychology.

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Shann Bossaller University of Missouri

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The capacity for life-long learning is critical for success in engineering practice. Metacognition, defined as “thinking about thinking,” is key to the development of life-long learning, yet is rarely directly addressed in engineering education. This paper will report on the authors’ study of the development of metacognition skills of graduates of the Iron Range Engineering (IRE) program, an innovative problem-based learning program that integrates metacognition instruction with engineering content. The IRE program offers a unique setting for studying developing metacognitive skills in engineering students who, as part of their curriculum, solve ill-structured, real-world problems.

Our NSF funded project is designed to (1) understand the metacognitive skills developed during preparation of engineering students in a problem-based learning (PBL) program and (2) understand if this preparation helps students in transitioning to the workforce.

In this paper, we will report on the results of interviews with recent IRE graduates (who are working as engineers), and their supervisors. We interviewed these graduates to ascertain: • How their IRE preparation in metacognition helped them (or not) to transition to the engineering workforce • To what extent do graduates apply the lifelong learning and metacognition skills developed at IRE in their current positions?

We will discuss our results in terms of the explicit metacognitive instruction used by the IRE program and the extent to which these strategies may contribute to the success of their engineering graduates in the workplace. We will further discuss how these instructional activities could be used as a model for engineering educators to improve the readiness of students to be flexible, independent, life-long learners.

Marra, R. M., & Kim, S. M., & Plumb, C., & Hacker, D. J., & Bossaller, S. (2017, June), Beyond the Technical: Developing Lifelong Learning and Metacognition for the Engineering Workplace Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27659

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