Step Change Implementation of CDIO – The Aston University Story

Step Change Implementation of CDIO – The Aston University Story

M. Prince, G. Thomson (2011).  Step Change Implementation of CDIO – The Aston University Story. 12.

The aim of this paper is to provide a comprehensive account of the experience of Mechanical

Engineering & Design (MED) at Aston University in adopting a system level implementation of the CDIO framework at EQF Level 4. This is Aston’s first experience of CDIO and represents a step-change in learning and teaching philosophy from a long-established traditional engineering science didactic format. The paper describes the reasons for changing, the innovative teaching and learning practices that have been employed, how it has been implemented, and the experiences of staff involved during its development and practical implementation.

The account shows the progress that Aston has made in its first semester of implementation and details some of the cultural challenges it has faced, along with some of the unexpected benefits of improving learning and teaching practice. Through building engineering and design programmes around large 30 credit active learning modules based upon the CDIO framework Aston academics have found that early stage implementation has increased efficiencies in terms of reduced assessment loading by 54 % and reduced space utilization requirements by 37 %. Furthermore the changes have been made without significant increase in workload beyond the creation of new learning experiences, and without sacrificing academic challenge. Successful implementation of the new CDIO based programmes have been demonstrated as being effective at increasing student engagement, creativity and problem solving in both practical, active learning sessions and conventional declarative knowledge learning sessions.


Authors (New): 
Mark Prince
Gareth Thomson
Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom
CDIO implementation
reasons for change
efficiency savings
Collaborative teaching
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