Active Learning Strategies in Engineering Design Education: Student Learning, Professional Skill Development and Perceptions
Addressing the complex problems of the 21st century requires engineers with a deep understanding of engineering concepts and strong professional skills. Two studies were conducted to investigate the effectiveness of active learning strategies in engineering education to promote deep learning and professional skill development. The first investigates the use of peer assessment in a technical engineering design course, while the second modifies an existing problem-based learning course by intentionally teaching professional skills. Findings suggest that students recognized the learning, and to a less extent the professional skills development, potential of peer assessment; however, student concerns and negative perceptions remained prominent over the 3-year study. Further, intentionally teaching professional skills may significantly contribute to improved professionalism and some teamwork dimensions; however, the effect sizes observed were small (d < 0.25). Most students felt their professional skills improved, but attributed this to their team, project, and individual efforts rather than intentional instruction.