June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.783.1 - 22.783.8
DOES THE TRANSFER OF CONSTRUCTION ENGINEERING KNOWLEDGE IMPACT THE WORK PRACTICE OF THE ENGINEERS IN THE CONSTRUCTION WORK FORCE?Since the discipline of construction engineering was only regulated as a formal discipline ofprofessional practice (by NCEES) in 2008, current engineers in the workforce have, for the mostpart, no formal education in the construction discipline. This study represents a primary step toinvestigate the answer to fundamental questions about the need to transfer constructionengineering knowledge to practicing engineers in the construction workforce. For instance,would such transfer of knowledge have a positive impact on the practicing engineers? If so,would the transfer of construction engineering knowledge increase the ability of the engineers tounderstand the construction processes that they lead? Would such knowledge affect their workpractice? In order to answer these and other fundamental questions, this study has investigatedthe impact of a continuous training program in the discipline of construction engineering on thelearning and work behavior of Supervising Discipline Engineers (SDE) affiliated with a largeU.S. design and construction organization.The continuous training effort consisted in three intensive face-to-face sessions, each of whichcovered one of the following topics: front end planning, project execution methods, and projectteam dynamics. We separately instructed the three sessions in a two months period over three,five, and two day durations, respectively. Once the training had been completed, a self-assessment questionnaire was designed to inquire the SDE engineers about their changes inlearning and work behavior before and after engaging in the construction engineering program.In order to capture the long term and sustained impact of the program, the engineers were invitedto fill the pre- and post-assessments several months after the completion of the program. Thislate after-the-fact self-assessment allowed the participants to respond with a coherent and solidbasis of judgment. Class material (assignments, exams, participation) and anecdotal evidence(emails, notes) were used to validate the answers of the respondents. Finally, phone interviewscomplemented the data collection process.The results of the pilot study indicate that there is a significant opportunity to transferconstruction engineering knowledge to the engineers in the U.S. construction workforce. EachSDE engineer evaluated his/her prior and after-the-fact knowledge in each of the three impartedtopics. Indeed, the education program resulted in a significant and consistent increment inconstruction engineering knowledge among the participants. The differences between the pre-and post-training means in the knowledge of the three instructed topics are actually statisticallysignificant. Also, this study found that the training program had a positive effect on the workbehavior of the SDE engineers. Specifically, it was found that the training program increasedboth the understanding and communication of the SDE engineers with experts in otherdisciplines, and the utilization of construction engineering principles to deliver a capital facilityproject.
Grau, D., & Back, E., & Mejia, G. (2011, June), How does the Transfer of Construction Engineering Expertise Impact the Cognition and Work Practice of the Engineers in the Construction Work Force? Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18064
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