Future-proofing engineering education : pedagogical reform for engineering resilience and mastery

McDonald, Rory; (2022) Future-proofing engineering education : pedagogical reform for engineering resilience and mastery. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium for Engineering Education. University of Strathclyde, GBR. ISBN 9781914241208 (https://doi.org/10.17868/strath.00082035)

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Our future dependency on engineering expertise will likely only deepen as a result of the increasing complexity and technological interconnectedness of the modern world. Given that many nations already face engineering skills shortages it is vital to immediately address the employability and preparedness of future generations. This long-term view must, by necessity, broaden the scope of engineering employability beyond graduate/near graduate cohorts to younger learners who will meet the continuing and evolving demand for professional engineers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this paper the immense educational challenge posed by this demand will be acknowledged, highlighting the need for resilience and mastery within the changing engineering profession. This paper will critique how such resilient and masterful learning can occur in education systems that only introduce engineering as a distinct subject for a relatively short time during later stages of Further/Higher Education. It is argued that the most capable and future-proofed engineers may be those who are supported for engineering in earlier learning experiences. To explore this, a model of engineering learning is introduced to consider wider learning, including curricular, non-curricular and societal experiences for engineering participation. This model will consider the prevalence of earlier, broader learning experiences and their potential impact on later masterful and resilient engineering employability. Empirical evidence from 900 secondary school-aged learners will provide insight into this early support and its impact on engagement, identity, and self-efficacy to prepare more employable graduates. Implications for future-proofing engineering employability and pedagogical reform will be discussed.