Learning strategies and learning traits critical to practicing engineers after college Conference

Ferguson, DM, Cawthorne, JE, Schimpf, CT et al. (2013). Learning strategies and learning traits critical to practicing engineers after college .

cited authors

  • Ferguson, DM; Cawthorne, JE; Schimpf, CT; Cardella, ME


  • This purpose of this paper is to describe the redesign of a course, Principles of Entrepreneurship (Principles), undertaken to improve the course to focus more effectively on student learning outcomes. Such introductory courses in entrepreneurship serve a variety of majors and matriculation levels and are offered at many universities as a means of attracting students to an entrepreneurship course sequence or introducing students to entrepreneurial activity. The benefit of examining the redesign of Principles is to offer suggestions for how such introductory entrepreneurship courses can be improved as measured by improved student learning. Principles is a course that has no prerequisites and can be a stand-alone experience or the first course in an entrepreneurship course sequence. The lead author has taught such a course many times to several hundred students. The course described in this paper, however, has not been taught in its entirety by the authors, rather the proposed Principles design (or redesign) is based upon the author's experience in teaching a predecessor to Principles and applying the learning objectives, assessment and pedagogical models of Wiggins and McTigue, Pelligrino, and Perkins to the redesign of Principles. Wiggins and McTighe have defined a hierarchical model for describing what learning outcomes should be the objectives of a student learning experience and therefore what to emphasize in a hierarchical order once critical learning outcomes are identified. In Principles among the most important learning outcomes are the ability to recognize entrepreneurial opportunities and to communicate the benefits of those opportunities to others whether they are customers, partners, employees or investors. In the model of Wiggins and McTighe learning outcomes are organized into three levels of learning importance: 1. enduring understandings, 2. important to know insights, and 3. good to know information. These learning outcomes establish what the student is expected to know or be able to do as a result of participating in the Principles course. Pelligrino's assessment triangle approach includes in one integrated assessment model; the desired student outcomes (as captured by the Wiggins and McTighe framework), the student learning activities ( as designed by the Perkins' approach to student learning activities) and the generation and analytic use of student performance or measurement data to assess student learning (which completes the Pelligrino assessment triangle). The assessment triangle approach as proposed by Pelligrino is illustrated for Principles for three enduring understandings: evaluate new venture opportunities, exhibit presentation skills, and assess entrepreneurial competencies. Perkins identified seven types of learning experiences to incorporate into an overall integrated and reinforced learning experience that aids students in acquiring and retaining the desired knowledge and skills associated with entrepreneurship (or any desired learning outcomes). Each of these seven learning techniques is examined with respect to student learning activities that can be or were designed into an actual Principles course. Applying the seven learning guidelines of Perkins to student activities establishes how the students will achieve the Principles learning outcomes. The emphasis in these student activities is arranged according to learning priorities established by the Wiggins and McTighe hierarchy. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2013.

publication date

  • September 24, 2013