Assessment of Interpersonal Skills of Students in the Vehicle Engineering Programme at KTH

Assessment of Interpersonal Skills of Students in the Vehicle Engineering Programme at KTH

B. Alfredsson (2006).  Assessment of Interpersonal Skills of Students in the Vehicle Engineering Programme at KTH. 15.

The purpose of the assessment was to investigate the impact of integrated teaching and training activities of the interpersonal skills: teamwork and communication, during the first two years of the Vehicle Engineering programme at KTH. The assessment focused on six areas defined in the CDIO Syllabus. The training activities performed in the courses were compared to those defined in the CDIO-based Vehicle Engineering Programme – Objective Document. The student skills and knowledge in the six areas were evaluated and progress in student skills from first to second year was appraised.

The investigation was based on four sources: programme and course documentation; interviews with the responsible teachers for all courses; training materials that were distributed to the students during the courses; web based student evaluation questionnaires. During the interviews the teachers were asked to describe the course activities in the six areas, how it was done including any written or oral instructions and how they appreciated the results in student skills. In the web based questionnaires the students were asked to estimate which courses had contributed to their skills and abilities, rank the status of their skills and in the case of oral and written communication they were also asked what they thought was the most difficult topic.

The results were compiled into diagrams where qualitative comparisons can be made. Comments from teachers and students added further information. Some general conclusions that were applicable for all areas were noted. The consistent integration of learning activities on interpersonal skills into several disciplinary courses improved the student communication skills. It could also be seen in the diagrams that activities with higher demands on the students resulted in larger depth in the student ability. The answers from the first and second year students were compared. In general, the second year students stated stronger skills than the first year students, with the exception of oral presentation. An interesting discrepancy was found between how the students ranked their own abilities and skills in relation to those of their colleagues. They appreciated their own abilities higher than those of their colleagues.


2nd International CDIO Conference, Linkoping University, Linkoping, Sweden, 13 to 14 June 2006

Authors (New): 
B. Alfredsson
KTH Royal Institute of Technology,Sweden
CDIO Syllabus
Vehicle Engineering
personal and interpersonal skills
Crawley, E.F. The CDIO Syllabus – A statement of goals for undergraduate engineering education, MIT, USA,, page 5, 2001. : 
Östlund, S. Farkostteknikprogrammet – måldokument, Farkostteknikprogrammets kansli, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden, 2004, in Swedish. : 
Wolfe, K.E. Understanding the careers of the alumni of the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department, MIT USA, 2004. : 
Gibbs, G. Using assessment strategically to change the way students learn. In Assessment Matters in Higher Education, Brown, S. editor.: 
Alfredsson, B. Uppföljning av att arbeta i grupp och att kommunicera inom Farkostteknikprogrammet (HT2004 – VT2005), KTH Solid Mechanics, 2005, in Swedish.: 
KTH – arbetsmaterial från självvärdering till HSVs utvärdering av alla civilingenjörsprogram, through S. Östlund, 2005, in Swedish.: 
Biggs, J. Teaching for Quality Learning at University, 2nd edition, Open University Press, page 86, 2003. : 
Blom, K. Intervjuer årskurs 2 teknologer, Farkostteknikprogrammets kansli, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden, 2005, in Swedish. : 
Go to top