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Experiential Learning to Support an Innovation Disposition within Engineering Education

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Trends in Mechanical Engineering I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.681.1 - 22.681.24



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Paper Authors


Amy C. Bradshaw University of Oklahoma

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Amy C. Bradshaw is an Associate Professor of Instructional Psychology & Technology at the University of Oklahoma. Her scholarly interests include visuals and visual communication for learning and instruction; complex problem solving; social and cultural implications of technologies; critical pedagogy; and educational philosophy. Current projects explore the overlaps (and gaps) between mental imagery, higher order thinking, and complex problem solving.

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Zahed Siddique University of Oklahoma


Patricia Lea Hardre University of Oklahoma

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Dr. Hardre is an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, in the Instructional Psychology & Technology program at the University of Oklahoma. Her broad range of research work and interests include: engineering education, teaching assistant professional development, instructional design, faculty work, performance standards, program evaluation, performance assessment, health professions, informal and community education.

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Farrokh Mistree University of Oklahoma

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Farrokh Mistree holds the L. A. Comp Chair and is the Director of the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma.
Farrokh’s current research focus is on learning how to attain a net zero energy / eco footprint in the built environment. His current education focus is on creating and implementing, in partnership with industry, a curriculum for educating Strategic Engineers – those who have developed the competencies to create value through the realization of complex engineered systems for changing markets in a collaborative, globally distributed environment. It is in this context that he enjoys experimenting with ways in which design can be learned and taught. Farrokh is a Fellow of ASME and an Associate Fellow of AIAA.

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Balancing Conflicting Needs to Support a Culture of Innovation and Reflection in Experiential LearningThe rapid progress of globalization has lead to many unprecedented changes that willdemand future engineers engage problems with creativity, critical analysis, and innovation.In order to be prepared to produce the innovative solutions needed after graduation, studentsmust engage in practices conducive to the development of innovation, creativity, and higherorder thinking now during their formal educational experiences. Engineering education mustadapt to provide authentic opportunities for students to engage novel and complex problemsand challenges in order to practice and develop the skills and dispositions for innovation theywill require.Facilitating the development of students’ abilities for critical thinking and creative problemsolving is recognized as important and lacking. Operationalizing appropriate and meaningfulresponses to address this need presents a challenge that, itself, must be addressed usingcritical thinking and creativity. Facilitating the development of desired skills, dispositions,and reflective habits of mind within our student populations, requires a critical mass offaculty able and eager to embody and enact these desired characteristics. How can we assistfaculty to be vital components in the cultural shift we seek within engineering education,which is imperative for the critical analysis, creativity, and innovation demands that will beplaced on the engineering community of the future?We have begun work toward supporting a cultural shift by addressing the needs of currentand future faculty to engage instructional strategies for innovation by developing a workshopthat supports conceptual and philosophical development, provides instructional strategies andscaffolding, and is based on sound pedagogical theory. In this paper, we report on what weare learning from developing and conducting this workshop to unleash innovation inexperiential learning and how that experience informs our current and future work towardsupporting a culture of innovation in engineering education. A key challenge involvesbalancing the often conflicting needs for time, efficiency, dialogue, modeling, reflection,practice, conceptual and philosophical scaffolding, procedural learning, and affectivedevelopment. What are the preliminary steps in this endeavor? How can we engage andinterest our professional colleagues to be interested and willing to undertake the challengesinherent in program and curriculum redesigns that will support innovations across our widerengineering community? What conceptual and philosophical support is needed, and what arethe best ways to provide this support? In what formats can meaningful engagement befacilitated?In this paper, we clarify related issues and foundational constructs, provide strategies thatarise from them, and present a model for scaffolding higher order cognitive engagementand intentional reflection in experiential learning. This paper is especially relevant forfaculty, students and administrators interested in exploring experiential learning, or thosewho may have attempted experiential learning and want to use it more effectively.

Bradshaw, A. C., & Siddique, Z., & Hardre, P. L., & Mistree, F. (2011, June), Experiential Learning to Support an Innovation Disposition within Engineering Education Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17962

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