June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Educational Research and Methods
The Making of an Innovative Engineer: Academic and Life Experiences that Shape Engineering Task and Innovation Self-Efficacy
This research paper presents the results of a study that uses multivariate models to explore the relationships between participation in learning experiences, innovation self-efficacy, and engineering task self-efficacy. Findings show that many engineering students participated in learning experiences that are typically associated with engineering education, such as taking a shop class or engineering class in high school (47%), taking a computer science (81%) or design/prototyping (72%) class as an undergraduate, working in an engineering environment as an intern (56%), or attending a career related event during college (75%). Somewhat surprisingly, given the rigors of an engineering curriculum, a significant number of students participated in an art, dance, music, theater, or creative writing class (55%), taken a class on leadership topics (47%), and/or participated in student clubs outside of engineering (44%) during college. There also were important differences in rates of participation by gender, underrepresented racial/ethnic minority status, and first generation college student status.
Overall prediction of engineering task self-efficacy and innovation self-efficacy was relatively low, with a model fit of these learning experiences predicting engineering task self-efficacy at (adjusted r2 of) .200 and .163 for innovation self-efficacy. Certain patterns emerged when the learning experiences were sorted by Bandura’s Sources of Self-Efficacy. For engineering task self-efficacy, higher participation in engineering mastery and vicarious engineering experiences was associated with higher engineering task self-efficacy ratings. For the development of innovation self-efficacy, a broader range of experiences beyond engineering experiences was important. There was a strong foundation of engineering mastery experiences in the innovation self-efficacy model; however, broadening experiences beyond engineering, particularly in the area of leadership experiences, may be a factor in innovation self-efficacy.
These results provide a foundation for future longitudinal work probing specific types of learning experiences that shape engineering students’ innovation goals. They also set the stage for comparative models of students’ goals around highly technical engineering work, which allows us to understand more deeply how “innovation” and “engineering” come together in the engineering student experience.
Schar, M., & Gilmartin, S. K., & Rieken, B., & Brunhaver, S. R., & Chen, H. L., & Sheppard, S. (2017, June), The Making of an Innovative Engineer: Academic and Life Experiences that Shape Engineering Task and Innovation Self-Efficacy Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28986
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