Experiential learning approaches for developing professional skills in postgraduate engineering students

Thorpe, David (2016) Experiential learning approaches for developing professional skills in postgraduate engineering students. In: International Conference on Engineering Education and Research (ICEER 2016), 21-24 November 2016, Sydney, Australia.

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Abstract

The postgraduate coursework curriculum at the University of Southern Queensland includes a number of engineering management courses focused on developing professional engineering knowledge and skills, such as advanced project management, asset management, risk management and innovation management. Such skills are normally developed through traditional coursework approaches like on-line and written study materials, lectures and tutorials. While such teaching approaches have been successful, it is considered desirable to more strongly embed the professional skills taught into the learner’s future professional practice. Teaching techniques based on experiential learning have the potential to achieve this objective, through processes based on activities like having a concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and active experimentation. In teaching professional skills, this approach can be delivered through activities like reflective exercises designed to aid understanding, and assignments that as well as being authentic include reflection, development and implementation of the principles taught. It is also possible to further enhance student development though using marker feedback from an experiential learning activity, such as an assignment in a particular course, to inform a subsequent learning cycle of that course. Experiential learning can be enhanced through other approaches like embodied learning, which helps learners to better understand a principle through experiencing the application of theory, and through other techniques like gaming. Advantages and disadvantages of how experiential learning approaches can be applied to improve the development of professional knowledge and skills in postgraduate students undertaking engineering management courses, along with examples of its use, are discussed.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2017 02:37
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2017 00:48
Uncontrolled Keywords: experiential learning, engineering education, postgraduate, professional skills
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0999 Other Engineering > 099999 Engineering not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930103 Learner Development
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/31099

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