Evaluating Engineering Students' Perceptions: The Impact of Team-Based Learning Practices in Engineering Education

Evaluating Engineering Students' Perceptions: The Impact of Team-Based Learning Practices in Engineering Education

Sivachandran Chandrasekaran (Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, Australia), Binali Silva (Deakin University, Highton, Australia), Arun Patil (Deakin University, Geelong, Australia), Aman Maung Than Oo (Deakin University, Waurn Ponds, Australia) and Malcolm Campbell (Deakin University, Geelong, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJQAETE.2016100103
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Abstract

The focus of this research study is to evaluate engineering graduates' performance on team-based learning practices in engineering education course. Team based learning (TBL) is an effective approach, which emphasizes active learning in a collaborative task. In an engineering curriculum, students are encouraged to develop skills around TBL that helps to enhance graduate employability opportunities. This paper presents an exploratory analysis of evaluating engineering graduates' performance in practising TBL at a postgraduate study level. The cohort of students that participated in this study were primarily postgraduate engineering students at Deakin University.
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Introduction

Team-Based Learning (TBL) is an effective approach of an engineering education that involves cooperative interactions among students aiming to achieve a common set of goals. When TBL is implemented correctly, it helps students to enhance social and intellectual aptitudes in a curriculum environment (Jeffries & Huggett, 2010). Team-based learning has been a primary focus in a wide range of academic fields, such as engineering, medicine, law and psychology (Haberyan, 2007; Sparrow & McCabe, 2012; Thompson et al., 2007; Thorley, Gregory, & Gregory, 1994). TBL in engineering education is crucial to overcome persistent hurdles that students often encounter during the course of study. In spite of possessing comprehensive engineering literacy, one of the main issues faced by engineering students is the limited competency to apply knowledge in relevant engineering context. Teaching content which is primarily focused on technical work inhibits students in integrating practical applications and learning socio-economic, environmental and legislative concerns in present engineering practice (Mills & Treagust, 2003).

The previous literatures indicate that team-based learning has influenced both project-based learning and problem based learning in engineering education. A relative discussion by Jullie Mills, David Treagust and Yan Zhuge reveals that the involvement of TBL in project-based learning and problem-based learning were primarily focused on students working in small groups, undertaking projects in various engineering disciplines (Mills & Treagust, 2003; Zhuge & Mills, 2010). Those practices signify that a certain extent of TBL is required in both project-based learning and problem-based learning approaches. Ongoing research focuses on implementing TBL in various stages of educational practice including primary, secondary and tertiary education. Tertiary education has obtained a great range of attention towards TBL, mainly due to the rising demand of “human-interactive” skills of graduates required by employers (Dwyer, Coonan, Leitch, Hetzel, & Baghurst, 1983; Mullis, 1997; Rigby, 2002). The focus of this study is to determine the impact of team-based learning practices in the perceptions of engineering students.

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