Pedagogical approaches to project-based learning : meeting the education needs of the globally responsible engineering workforce

Truslove, J. and Crichton, E. and Whitehead, T. and Clark, R.; (2022) Pedagogical approaches to project-based learning : meeting the education needs of the globally responsible engineering workforce. In: Proceedings of the 8th International Symposium for Engineering Education. University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. ISBN 9781914241208 (

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The world is facing increasing complexity, uncertainty, and change, such as the climate emergency, biodiversity loss and increasing inequalities. Engineering graduates entering the workplace will address sustainability and global challenges, well beyond the horizon of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Addressing these requires disruption to traditional education pedagogies and approaches, to enable students to develop globally responsible outcomes and tackle the complex challenges of the future. Project-based learning is a unique and powerful tool for connecting across disciplines, experience levels, and stakeholders, with the goal of redefining engineering and the way that it is taught and practised. During a pivotal moment in an undergraduate student’s learning, the Engineering for People Design Challenge encourages multi-disciplinary groups of university students to broaden their awareness of the social, environmental, economic, and ethical implications of engineering alongside technical skills when developing solutions. Since its conception in 2011, the in-curriculum design challenge has reached over 60,000 students. This paper explores how and where the design challenge has been embedded and some of the innovative approaches that embed globally responsible engineering principles and commitment for emerging graduate engineers. Approaches include cross-faculty delivery, multidisciplinary teams incorporating the arts and fully project-based learning. The findings of this paper are part of a longitudinal study to understand the dynamic approaches to delivering the design challenge and seeks to inspire educators and challenge traditional approaches to engineering education.

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