June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Educational Research and Methods
15.499.1 - 15.499.19
Engineering, Reflection and Life Long Learning
Reflection skills have been used in various academic fields to bring self awareness into what has been learned from an exercise. We propose that if an engineering student is aware of the information he or she currently knows as well as what remains to be learned, then that student should possess the ability to more efficiently make the necessary assumptions and gather the appropriated information in order to solve the problem at hand.
Our general premise is that by engaging in active and repeated reflection exercises, undergraduate engineering students will develop stronger reflective judgment skills; and hence, we would anticipate that these students will show initial signs of becoming Schon’s reflective practitioner1 or achieve higher levels of King and Kitchener’s reflective judgment scale2. That is, our engineering students will better recognize in the broadest sense the various stakeholders, and how their engineering decisions will impact them, in both the short and long terms.
Here we have studied undergraduate industrial engineering student teams resolving Model Eliciting Activities (MEAs). After completing each MEA, each student was then given a reflection tool (RT) requiring him or her to address several of the ABET professional skills. The students’ reflection responses coupled with the MEA graded group solutions provided a data set for analysis. Student data was coded to determine the quantity of concepts learned, as well as the depth and quality of reflection. From here, based on King and Kitchener’s Reflective Judgment Model, students were categorized into: pre-reflective thinking, quasi-reflective thinking or reflective thinking groups. These categories were then compared with the grades on the MEAs.
The engineering profession continues to diversify in complexity, location and types of problems as it addresses the major issues impacting society, such as those delineated in the NAE Grand Challenges (http://www.engineeringchallenges.org). Consequently, it is not possible for engineering students to fully learn all the theory and skills that they will need upon graduation. This is one reason for ABET outcome criteria 3(i) – “life long learning,” and why it is becoming increasingly important. We suggest that reflection is one such method that helps to foster life long learning.
Engineering students are expected to make significant progress in learning content knowledge as they go from novices (freshmen) to young practitioners during the process of earning their B.S. degrees. During this time undergraduate engineers begin to refine their problem solving skills and learn to view posed and real problems more effectively and holistically. This growth process
Siewiorek, N., & Shuman, L., & Besterfield-Sacre, M., & Santelli, K. (2010, June), Engineering, Reflection And Life Long Learning Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16615
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