Student Experience for the Development of Professional Competencies in a Project Based Learning Curriculum

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In the calls for change in engineering education there is an increased emphasis for the student development of professional competencies. This paper looks at the student experience when the development of professional competencies is made to bean explicit learning outcome for students in a project-based learning (PBL) curriculum that is designed purposefully to develop them. This study builds on a previous quantitative study that indicated an increase in performance of the professional competencies by students who experienced the PBL curriculum. This qualitative study is focused on gaining an understanding of the student experience and also identifying which elements of the PBL curriculum affected the student professional competency development experience. Of equal interest, in the qualitative study, is to gain an understanding of the student experience in how they developed their importance for the professional competencies. The quantitative study indicates this was developed prior to upper division. The paper contributes to the literature on engineering education and serves to inform engineering education faculty and decision makers who are intent on transforming their respective engineering education systems through project based learning with the insights into the ways this PBL curriculum influenced the student development of professional competencies.


Integrated Engineering

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The International Journal of Engineering Education