New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Educational Research and Methods
In this paper we present preliminary findings from a research project aimed at identifying learning outcomes in informal environments. For our study we focus specifically on engineering competitions which have gained momentum across a range of engineering disciplines. Increasingly, students are participating in design competitions that range anywhere from multi-year activities such as Concrete Canoe, Formula SAE to short term activities such as one day competitions on Hack-a-thons. Although competitions are becoming popular, there is little research on what students learn through their participation in these events. Proponents of competitions argue that these activities provide students the opportunity to apply both technical and professional skills and knowledge to a practical or applied problem and through their participation improve their skills or knowledge, i.e. learn. To empirically examine this issue we conducted a qualitative study across competitions and then developed a survey to measure learning outcomes. We examined students’ experiences of developing professional skills as defined by ABET. Findings indicate that professional responsibilities were discussed most often. Students discussed cognitions, behaviors, and dispositions in three broad categories: self-management, task management, and team management. By providing students the opportunity to own the problem and its outcomes, engineering competitions can empower students to think like, act as, and be professional engineers.
Bland, L. C., & Kusano, S. M., & Johri, A. (2016, June), Engineering Competitions as Pathways to Development of Professional Engineering Skills Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26629
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