Influences of cohort effects on engineering students' competence formation

Joachim Walther, Nadia Kellam, David Radcliffe

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper reports results of a study of engineering students' competence formation in the context of the complex interplay of learning activities and other educational influences. Data was gathered in focus groups with 67 engineering students from institutions internationally. The focus groups based on critical incident techniques were analysed qualitatively using NVivo7. From the analysis emerged a set of competence clusters and categories. This paper focuses on the cohort effect to examine how the intricate interactions with other factors impacted on student learning within the competence framework. One example is the problematic relationship between problembased pedagogies and students' development of self-directed working that can be explained from the interplay of the learning activities and certain cohort effects. For engineering education the complexity of student learning suggests relinquishing some of the assumed control of the education process in order to integrate students' entire university experience into a cohesive professional and personal development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event2009 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, REES 2009 - Palm Cove, QLD, Australia
Duration: Jul 20 2009Jul 23 2009


Other2009 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, REES 2009
CityPalm Cove, QLD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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