June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
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.
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