Understanding perceptions of reflection among engineering educators and students

Kristine R. Csavina, Adam R. Carberry, Cherrylynne R. Nethken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Reflection is an implicit professional skill for engineers that is embedded within the engineering curriculum, but rarely explicitly taught to or discussed with students. A sample of 114 students enrolled in an engineering capstone design course and 73 engineering educators attending the 2016 Capstone Design Conferencewere asked, "Howdo you define reflection?" to shed light on how engineering education stakeholders perceive reflection. Responses were coded utilizing three categorical definitions of reflection: (1) reflection-on-action, (2) reflection-in-action, and (3) reflection-then-action. Results demonstrate that nearly halfofall student and educator participantsinthe sample view reflection strictly a sanopportunity to look back on an action. The remaining two categories of reflection, varied between educators and students with a larger percentage of students viewing reflection as a process and a larger percentage of educators seeing reflection as impacting future actions. These findings suggest that a slight disconnect exists between the beliefs of students and engineering educators. Both groups could benefit from a better understanding of what reflection is, which could result in an appreciation gain for regular practice of reflective activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1534-1542
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2017


  • Engineering design
  • Perceptions
  • Reflection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)


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