Design Science Research as an Approach for Engineering Education Research

Design Science Research as an Approach for Engineering Education Research

Design Science Research is a research approach that is widely used in information technology, but also in other areas where the development of an artefact is parallel to the development of a theory or methodology for this development. In our research we have developed the model “the learning of a complex concept” as a method to analyze learning outcomes, as well intended as experienced by students (e.g. Bernhard, Carstensen, & Holmberg, 2011; Carstensen, 2013). In this paper we will show how the model “the learning of a complex concept", LCC, was developed, and how design science research was used to develop a methodology that may now be used in the iterative design and analysis of learning outcomes. LCC was developed while designing teaching sequences in a course in electrical engineering. The model was derived as a means to analyse videorecordings of students’ actions, during lab-sessions in an electric circuit course in the first year of an electrical engineering program. Modelling is an engineering endeavor often taken for granted, as is also design (Mitcham, 1994, p. 220). However, since in design science research “the design researcher arrives at an interpretation (understanding) of the phenomenon and the design of the artefact simultaneously” (Vaishnavi & Kuechler, 2008), it seemed fruitful to explore the derivation of the LCC-model by means of design science research. The model has contributed to the understanding of learning but also to the design of learning materials, and design science research has improved the methodology. Can this become an especially appropriate methodology for analysis of CDIO-projects? What may be learned, and what is actually learned in a CDIO-project? How can “the learning of a complex concept” (LCC) be used in the iterative design process designing a CDIO-project?

References: Bernhard, J., Carstensen, A.-K., & Holmberg, M. (2011). Analytical tools in engineering education research: The “learning a complex concept” model, threshold concepts and key concepts in understanding and designing for student learning. In W. Hernandez (Ed.), Proceedings of Research in Engineering Education Symposium 2011 (pp. 51-60). Madrid: Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM).

Carstensen, A.-K. (2013). Connect : modelling learning to facilitate linking models and the real world trough lab-work in electric circuit courses for engineering students. Norrköping: Department of Science and Technology (ITN), Linköping University.

Mitcham, C. (1994). Thinking through technology : the path between engineering and philosophy. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

Vaishnavi, V., & Kuechler, W. (2008). Design science research methods and patterns : innovating information and communication technology. Boca Raton: Auerbach Publications.

Proceedings of the 12th International CDIO Conference, Turku, Finland, June 12-16 2016

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