ICT and Education: A Review

ICT and Education: A Review

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0465-9.ch002


This chapter reviewed the literature on the trends and paradigm shifts in engineering education. Through the literature, the problems in mechanical engineering specifically for the learning of mechanics dynamics were identified. The importance of information and communication technologies (ICT) and the application of computer-aided learning (CAL) in engineering education was discussed. In the last section of this chapter, the theory of learning styles associated with engineering education was studied.
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Engineering Education

Engineering education is regarded as one of the important educational domains in the tertiary education. As defined by Cheshier (1998);

“Engineering education for the professional focuses primarily on the conceptual and theoretical aspects of science and engineering aimed at preparing graduates for the practice of engineering closest to the research, development, and conceptual design functions” (p. 36).

In the earlier days, when the engineering education was introduced, it followed the apprenticeship form with an emphasis on hands-on practical education (ASEE, 1987). Later, engineering education was formalized into the academic studies and followed a general pattern of teaching and learning. In general, engineering education involves two distinct learning environments which are the classroom teaching on theoretical knowledge for conceptual understanding and the laboratory sessions to obtain the practical knowledge (Balamuralithara & Woods, 2009).

Recently, the paradigm shift in engineering education raised the attention of the engineering communities and is actively discussed in numerous reports (Auguestine, 2005; Froyd et al., 2012; National Science Board, 2007; Prados, 1998; Wince-Smith, 2005). As discussed by Duderstadt (2008), one of the characteristics for new paradigms of engineering education is the change of pedagogical style that shifted from classroom based pedagogy to active learning approaches that engaged problem-solving skills and team building, by which it is more focused on discovery oriented, interactive and collaborative learning experiences. Table 2.1 summarizes the characteristics for old and new paradigms of engineering education as discussed in details by Duderstadt (2008).

Table 1.
Comparisons on the characteristics for old and new paradigms of engineering education
Engineering Education
Old ParadigmsNew Paradigms
The Curriculum▪ Focused on scientific and technical courses as the core of an engineering education.▪ Not only focused on scientific and technical courses but include new curriculum that must reflect a broad range of concerns on economic, political, social, and environmental context of engineering practice.
The Ability and Skills▪ Technical knowledge and skills▪ Technical knowledge and skills
▪ Communication skills
▪ Teamwork / Teambuilding
▪ Ability to adapt to an increasingly diverse world
▪ Ability not only to adapt to change but to actually drive change
▪ Social and environmental consciousness
Depth vs. Breadth▪ Follow the reductionism approach - focused on teaching and scholarship on increasingly narrow and specialized topics.▪ Focused more on comprehensive curriculum and broader educational experience in which topics are better connected and integrated.
▪ Holistic approach to address social needs
Pedagogical Style▪ Classroom based pedagogy – lecture-dominated system (large lecture courses, rigidly defined problem assignments, highly structured laboratory courses).▪ Active learning approaches that engage problem-solving skills and team building.
▪ Focused on discovery-oriented, interactive, and collaborative learning experiences.
Lifelong Learning▪ Less awareness on lifelong learning – concerns more on the acquiring of knowledge for future jobs.▪ Aware on the importance of lifelong learning and concerns more on the knowledge of how to learn and continue to learn throughout the life time.
New Technologies▪ From microscopic level of info-bio-nano.▪ To the macroscopic level of global systems.
A Broader Concern▪ Focus primarily on educating students for the engineering profession.▪ Educating not simply professional engineers but a new breed of graduates with an engineering-based, liberal education.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multimedia: Multimedia is the field concerned with the computer-controlled integration of text, graphics, drawings, still and moving images (Video), animation, audio, and any other media where every type of information can be represented, stored, transmitted, and processed digitally.

Kolb’s Learning Style Model: Learning style inventory that works on two levels: a four-stage cycle of learning and four separate learning styles which is concerned with the learner's internal cognitive processes.

Felder-Silverman Model: A multifaceted approach to understanding learning style. This model includes: active and reflective learners, sensing and intuitive learners, visual and verbal learners, and sequential and global learners.

Honey and Mumford Learning Styles: Learning style inventory which is based on the Kolb learning styles, but with a few differences.

Learning Styles: Learning styles group common ways that people learn. Everyone has a mix of learning styles. Some people may find that they have a dominant style of learning, with far less use of the other styles. Others may find that they use different styles in different circumstances.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI): Is an introspective self-report questionnaire with the purpose of indicating differing psychological preferences in how people perceive the world around them and make decisions.

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